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Iran Issues Verdict in Trial of Washington Post Reporter


FILE - Jason Rezaian (R), an Iranian-American correspondent for The Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian correspondent for the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National, attend a presidential campaign of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Apr. 11, 2013.

Iran says a verdict has been issued in the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who was arrested 15 months ago on espionage and other charges.

There were no details on what the verdict is but judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi said it can be appealed.

Rezaian had been working for The Washington Post in Iran since 2012 before he was arrested in July 2014 together with his wife, Yeganeh "Yegi" Salehi, and two other people. Salehi, also a journalist, has since been released, but Rezaian has remained in jail.

'Vague and puzzling'

The executive editor of The Washington Post, Martin Baron, said the newspaper is aware of Iran's announcement of a verdict which he called "vague and puzzling."

"It is not clear whether this ruling includes a verdict or a sentence – or even whether its contents have been communicated to Jason or his lawyer," Baron said. "Jason is a victim -- arrested without cause, held for months in isolation, without access to a lawyer, subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse."

The U.S. State Department says it is closely monitoring the case.

"We've seen the news reports concerning a verdict in the case of U.S. citizen Jason Rezaian, but have not yet seen any official confirmation or details of a specific verdict from Iranian authorities," spokesman John Kirby said Sunday.

Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government would work to free Razaian and two other Americans from prisons in Iran if the United States released jailed Iranians.

Iranian Citizens

The two other Americans are Amir Heckmati, a former U.S. Marine who was charged with spying, and Saeed Abedini, a convert to Christianity who organized a Bible study group. Another American, former FBI agent Robert Levinson, disappeared in Iran in 2007 but his whereabouts are unclear.

Iran has sought the freedom of 19 of its citizens who are imprisoned in the United States in connection with U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program.

Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic relations since 1980.