After 13 months in Iranian jail, Post reporter ‘steeling himself’ for verdict

Tuesday is visitors’ day for Jason Rezaian, the day that Iranian authorities permit the imprisoned Washington Post journalist to see his mother and his wife.

As they have every Tuesday for the past few weeks, Mary Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi arrived at Tehran’s Evin Prison in the morning and walked through a labyrinth of halls to a waiting car that drove them to another building housing a small salon furnished with chairs around a coffee table.

There they met, the two women sitting on either side of Rezaian, each holding one of his hands.

But this Tuesday’s visit was unlike any other over the past month and a half that Mary Rezaian has been in Iran for her son. They are waiting for an imminent verdict in the case against The Post’s Tehran bureau chief, who has been held for 13 months and is accused of espionage and other crimes.

The judge’s verdict could be handed down Wednesday. Or it may be next week. They have no hint when it will come, but they fear Rezaian will not be coming home anytime soon.

“It’s safe to say he’s steeling himself,” said Mary Rezaian in a phone call after the weekly visit. “He’s preparing himself to hear a verdict other than acquittal. A severe verdict, with a long sentence. We’re preparing ourselves for anything. It would be wonderful, a miracle, if he were acquitted, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”

During months of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the United States repeatedly pressed Tehran to release Rezaian, 39, and at least two other Americans of Iranian heritage imprisoned there, plus provide information on a fourth man who disappeared during a 2007 visit. U.N. human rights officials also have called for Rezaian’s immediate release, saying his arrest on July 22, 2014, his lengthy detention and the secret trial are intimidating to journalists working in Iran. Senior Post editors and Rezaian’s family have said that Rezaian is innocent and that he was acting solely as a journalist before his arrest.

“It’s safe to say he’s steeling himself,” said Mary Rezaian in a phone call after the weekly visit. “He’s preparing himself to hear a verdict other than acquittal. A severe verdict, with a long sentence. We’re preparing ourselves for anything. It would be wonderful, a miracle, if he were acquitted, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”

During months of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the United States repeatedly pressed Tehran to release Rezaian, 39, and at least two other Americans of Iranian heritage imprisoned there, plus provide information on a fourth man who disappeared during a 2007 visit. U.N. human rights officials also have called for Rezaian’s immediate release, saying his arrest on July 22, 2014, his lengthy detention and the secret trial are intimidating to journalists working in Iran. Senior Post editors and Rezaian’s family have said that Rezaian is innocent and that he was acting solely as a journalist before his arrest.

This article was written by for  The New York Times on AUG. 18, 2015.