August 1, 2014, Washington, D.C. – Jason Rezaian, his wife Yeganeh Salehi, and an unidentified freelance photographer have been detained in an unknown location in Iran since July 22. The photographer’s husband, who was also arrested on the same night, was released on July 28. Rezaian, the photographer, and the photographer’s husband are all U.S. citizens, while Salehi is an Iranian citizen who had applied for permanent residency in the U.S.
Rezaian is the Washington Post’s correspondent in Iran. He has been based in Iran since 2008 and was accredited by the Iranian government to work for the Washington Post since 2012. Salehi works as a correspondent for the National, a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates. Both are licensed by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for their journalistic activities in Iran.
According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Rezaian and Salehi have not been allowed any contact with the outside world, other than one phone call to their families on the day of their detention. The photographer has also contacted her family, and she was reportedly in great distress, but did not provide any information about her detention location or the charges she is facing.
In a video clip released on Wednesday, Jason Rezaian’s mother, Mary Rezaian, asked Iranian authorities to release her son and daughter-in-law.
“[Jason’s] love for Iran is so infectious he has made a career of sharing its beauty with others. He has encouraged many people to visit the country he now calls home. Both Jason and Yeganeh strive to show a face of Iran that many in the West could never otherwise see,” said Mary Rezaian in the video. “I humbly ask those who continue to detain my son and daughter to please release them and allow our family to be reunited and my fears for their safety to subside.”
The State Department has called for the release of Rezaian. Washington has asked the Swiss government, which represents consular interests for the U.S. in Iran due to lack of American diplomatic presence through an Interests Section, for assistance. The U.S. and Iran have no formal diplomatic relations.
Rezaian is the first Iranian American journalist known to have been taken into custody in Iran since 2009. In addition, Iranian Americans Amir Hekmati and Pastor Saeed Abedini continue to be detained in Iran despite calls for their release.
Click here to read PAAIA’s statement on the detention of the four journalists.