Climax nears in Rezaian trial with word of final day, verdict to come
The "espionage" trial of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian is finally reaching its resolution, it was disclosed Saturday.
The newspaper indicated that Rezaian's attorney was informed that the trial would resume and conclude Monday after a lengthy and unexplained delay.
A verdict will then be reached, according to the lawyer, Leila Ahsan. But what that portends is as clear as mud, given how closed-mouthed the government remains on the matter.
Rezaian was jailed more than a year ago on unspecified charges. Subsequent accusations of espionage against Rezaian were ridiculed by the Obama administration, his employers and a variety of journalism and human rights groups. But the Iranian government was undeterred and forged ahead with his imprisonment and a secret trial in which not even his family gained entry.
If the Post has any vague sense of relief, it appears to be secondary to its frustration-filled outrage. A statement from Executive Editor Marty Baron released Saturday calls the latest hearing a "critical moment" during the "travesty of a case."
The allegations of grave crimes, including espionage, that have been brought against Jason could not be more baseless and absurd. We call again on Iran's Revolutionary Court, even at this late date, to demonstrate fairness and justice that could only result in Jason's acquittal and immediate release. The end of this "judicial process" presents Iran with an opportunity to bring this nightmare to a long-overdue and humane resolution, by exonerating Jason and his wife, Yeganeh, and allowing them the freedom that is their right.
There's been ample speculation throughout the odyssey about what might happen. It included the wishful thinking that his release would be tied to successful conclusion of the Iranian nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
Hooman Majd, a New York-based Iran expert who is an NBC News contributor and covered the talks for Vanity Fair, speculated that Iran is looking to finish the trial in short order:
"The authorities would undoubtedly like this case to be concluded soon — perhaps before a Congressional vote on the nuclear issue and before President [Hassan] Rouhani shares the world stage with Obama at the UN in late September — in order for Iran to be truly blameless as it moves to rehabilitation in the international community."
"Whether everyone in the Iranian system can agree on this remains to be seen."