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Washington Post journalist charged by court in Tehran

After being arrested on July 22, Iranian American journalist Jason Rezaian was charged by a court in Tehran Saturday.

By Fred Lambert

TEHRAN, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- After being detained over the summer, a reporter for the Washington Post was charged by an Iranian court Saturday.

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian American with dual citizenship, spent around 10 hours in a court in Tehran before charges were filed against him, though the nature of the charges remain unclear. A translator assisted Rezaian, who does not speak Farsi, and sources familiar with the case told the Washington Post Rezaian signed documents indicating he understood he was being charged.

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Rezaian has been an Iran-based journalist since 2008, and in 2012 be became the Washington Post's correspondent in the country. He was arrested on July 22, 2014 with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and another photojournalist. The detention came a day after Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance renewed Rezaian's press credentials. Also a journalist, Salehi was released on bail in October.

Before Saturday, Rezaian was held for over four months without being officially charged. This measure, allowed under Iranian law, was compounded by the court's refusal to allow Rezaian to meet with an attorney.

"If authorities had evidence that Rezaian had committed a real crime, they should have charged him shortly after his arrest," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said.

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U.S. State Department officials brought up the subject of Rezaian and other Americans imprisoned in Iran during November negotiations in Vienna dealing with Iran's nuclear program and related sanctions.

Last month Iranian officials hinted that Revaian may be released soon, but earlier this week sources including Revaian's family said the Iranian government extended his detention another 60 days due to ongoing investigation.

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