Coming off the release of two imprisoned Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt on Sept. 23, the president of Iran has indicated a willingness to release Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, but with conditions.
President Hassan Rouhani suggested on Sept. 27 that Iran will work to free Rezaian and two other jailed Americans — Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati — if the United States releases 19 Iranians jailed for violating economic sanctions.
Rezaian, the Post’s bureau chief in Tehran, has been held in Iran since July 2014. Abedini, a pastor, has been jailed since 2012. Hekmati, a Marine, has been imprisoned since 2011.
Rezaian has endured harsh conditions — including long periods of solitary confinement — in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison since he was seized in 2014 for spying, a charge the U.S. State Department calls “absurd.” He has been awaiting a verdict in his trial, held in secret in August.
Rouhani’s comments come two months after a landmark deal in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran has the second-largest number of jailed journalists in the world, after China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.