Iran holds third closed session in trial of Washington Post reporter

The closed-door trial of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been detained in an Iranian prison for nearly a year, resumed for a third session on Monday. No decision in the case was announced.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 14, 2015, 04:04 AM IST

Tehran: The closed-door trial of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been detained in an Iranian prison for nearly a year, resumed for a third session on Monday. No decision in the case was announced.

The timing of the hearing was noteworthy, coinciding with a push between Iran and world powers to complete a historic deal in Vienna that could impose curbs on Iran's contested nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Rezaian, 39, is being tried in Revolutionary Court on charges that include espionage and distributing propaganda against the Islamic Republic. US officials, the Post and rights groups have criticized his trial and pressed for his release.

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that the hearing occurred but it did not provide details. The first two sessions in the case were held in May and June.

Mary Rezaian, the journalist's mother, appeared at the courthouse with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. As in past hearings, they were not allowed inside the courtroom.

Neither Rezaian nor his lawyer was visible to journalists who were gathered outside the courthouse. Authorities usually bring those charged in sensitive cases through a gate that is closed to the public.

The mother said she had no idea whether the timing of the latest hearing had anything to do with the nuclear talks in Vienna, nor did she have specific information that the US government was making a fresh push for Rezaian's release as part of a broader deal.

"I do know that there has been effort made on all levels throughout the United States and other countries," she said.

She expressed hope her son would be released on bail in the coming days, but said his defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, has not been able to tell the family what happened in the hearing.

Rezaian is a dual US-Iranian citizen who was born and spent most of his life in the United States. Iran does not recognize other nationalities for its citizens.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said he is following the case, telling reporters last month he is committed to pursuing the legal rights of all Iranians, including Rezaian.

Rezaian's brother, Ali, said in an email that Ahsan only recently informed the family that the trial would resume today.

Ali Rezaian, who is in Vienna to press his brother's case on the sidelines of the nuclear talks, said the documents in his brother's case file do not contain valid evidence that he was working against Iran, or that he created or spread propaganda against the country.