Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, claims that unnamed Americans have tried to arrange a prisoner swap to secure the freedom of captive Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
Rezaian has been outrageously imprisoned by the Iranian regime since July 2014, already a longer period of captivity than the U.S. Embassy hostages suffered during the Carter years.
“Some Americans contact us sometimes, asking us to exchange him with other detainees, but the sentence has not been announced yet,” Ejei told Iran’s state-run Fars news agency, according to Reuters.
Reuters notes that a speaker for Iran’s parliament has also hinted that Rezaian could be exchanged for Iranian prisoners in the U.S., although other Iranian officials have “played down the possibility of such a swap.”
A White House official refused to confirm or deny Ejei’s account, insisting that “we’re not going to comment on every public remark by Iranian officials concerning our detained and missing citizens.”
Iran is humiliating President Obama and his team just by floating these rumors and insinuating that a lopsided exchange of multiple prisoners would be needed to obtain Rezaian’s freedom, with the swap occurring on Iran’s timetable, naturally. The Iranians will make sure to use their human bargaining chips for maximum advantage now that the U.S. has no real leverage over them.
Jason Rezaian’s wife and mother were able to visit him for a few hours on Christmas Day.
“This is the first time in the year that I have been visiting him in Evin Prison that I could spend an extended time there and bring him his first home-cooked meal in months,” Rezaian’s mother Mary said in an email to the Washington Post. “We had a wonderful time together reminiscing of holidays past.”
“We are enormously pleased that our colleague Jason was permitted to spend extended time with his mother, Mary, and his wife, Yegi. It is a happy occasion for them and for all of us,” said Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron.
“And yet, we have to note, this visit is a rare exception in the 522 days of tragic, unjust imprisonment of a good, honorable and innocent man,” Baron continued. “We welcome this act of basic humanity, and we encourage his jailers in Iran to follow up by doing all that justice and decency require: Release Jason from prison and allow him a return to life as a free man who can spend time with his family where and whenever he pleases.”