For more than 500 days, the Iranian government has unjustly detained Washington Post reporter and dual U.S. and Iranian citizen Jason Rezaian. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner called the 500th day of his detention on December 3 a “sad and senseless marker:”
“Jason should have been free these last 500 days to pursue stories close to his heart, stories that promoted understanding of Iran’s people. Instead, his continued detention remains an injustice, as pointed out publicly by United Nations human rights experts, including the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists and other international organizations.”
Mr. Toner said that the United States is aware of reports that a Change.org petition has been delivered to Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York with 500,000 signatures, calling on Iran’s supreme leader to immediately release Jason and let him come home. The United States, said Mr. Toner, supports this and will continue its own efforts to bring Jason home.
Mr. Rezaian is among a number of dual U.S.-Iranian citizens that are being unjustly detained by Iran and have been for extensive periods, including former American marine Amir Hekmati, arrested in 2011, and Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, arrested in in 2012.
Secretary of State John Kerry personally raises the cases of these detained Americans at every occasion when he meets with his Iranian counterparts. ”We’re going to continue to do that,” said Deputy Spokesperson Toner, “and we’re going to continue to make the case that they should be released.”