Iran cited Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s online job application for a position in the Obama administration in 2008 as evidence that he is guilty of espionage.
On Thursday, the Post’s executive editor Martin Baron, cited reports that Iran’s Revolutionary Court is using correspondence between Rezaian and the administration after Obama was elected in 2008 as evidence against the journalist.
Shortly after the 2008 election of President Obama, more than three years before Jason began working for The Post, he applied online for a job in the incoming Obama administration, citing his familiarity with Iran and a wide cross-section of Iranian society. Jason received an unsigned, form response by e-mail and was never hired. Instead, he continued his work as a freelance journalist in Tehran until he began reporting for The Post in 2012 as the newspaper’s full-time Tehran correspondent. Jason never wrote directly to President Obama and was never hired by the Obama administration.
Rezaian was arrested more than 10 months ago. On Tuesday, the judge in Rezaian’s trial cited the correspondence between the journalist and the Obama Administration, also mentioning Rezaian’s visits to the U.S. consulate in Dubai in order to secure a visa for his wife, who hails from Iran, to emigrate to the United States. The trial is closed to the public.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s web site quoted spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham contesting criticism of the trial, saying, “In any country, questions of justice, judicial process and inquiry have their own procedures. There is no room for premature judgment and speculation.” Afkham is the same person who trumpeted Iran as an enemy of terrorism, saying last week, “If Iraq asks for help, we will spare no assistance [to the Arab country] in the fight against extremist and terrorist groups.”