The Washington Post reminds us that, as of today, its reporter Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned in Iran on manufactured charges for a full year—a detention that is the “longest, by far, for a Western journalist in Iran since the 1979 revolution that brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power.”
Rezaian’s incarceration, which has reportedly included torture and solitary confinement, has been covered extensively in the American press. There are also two other American hostages behind bars in Iran who have received less coverage: Amir Hekmati, a U.S. Marine, and Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor. Hekmati, most likely targeted because of his U.S. military service (he served in Iraq before being honorably discharged in 2005), was thrown in jail in the summer of 2011 on trumped-up espionage charges. Abedini, apparently targeted for his religious convictions, has been incarcerated since 2012 for the crime of “undermining Iran’s national security” by participating in a Christian evangelical movement.
Last month, Mark Donig and Gabriel Kohan told the stories of these two men, noting their families’ concerns that, after the nuclear deal with Iran was signed, a large source of the leverage that might have been used to secure their release would evaporate. On the other hand, as Gary Samore, President Obama’s former counter-proliferation czar in charge of the Iran portfolio, explains in the piece, the Administration has reasons for not linking the negotiations to the fate of the Americans imprisoned in Iran, as it apparently did in the case of the Cuba opening.
Read the whole thing here.