Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, arrested nine months ago in Iran, is reportedly being charged with four crimes. A statement from Rezaian’s lawyer provided to The Post by his family said the charges include espionage, “collaborating with hostile governments,” and “propaganda against the establishment.” One example of communication with a “hostile government” cited in the indictment included writing to President Obama. Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which is responsible for national security cases, has also accused Rezaian of collecting classified information.
More generally, let me repeat something that I said before, which is that the ongoing effort to try to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon through diplomacy will not, if it succeeds, resolve the wide range of other concerns we have about Iranian behavior. I mentioned earlier in response to Nedra’s question our ongoing concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including shipping arms to the Houthis, for example. We continue to be concerned about Iran’s support for terrorism and Iran’s language that currently emanates from their leadership that threatens our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. And we continue to have concerns about Mr. Rezaian and other Americans who are being unjustly detained in Iran.
One thing that we have done, Mike, that you know, in the context of the talks is raised on the sidelines of those talks our concern about the status of these American citizens. And we’re going to continue to press that case as we move forward here.
QUESTION: Josh, on the Jason Rezaian case, why can’t you just say to the Iranians that as a condition of making this deal final, you’ve got to free Jason Rezaian? I understand you’re going to resolve all of your issues with Iran, like supporting terrorism throughout the region -- all of those issues that are very complicated perhaps; some would argue maybe not. But here you have one case of an American who’s been held prisoner since July of last year, now brought up on what you just said were absurd charges. Why not say, look, we’re not going to sign a deal until you let him go?
MR. EARNEST: The reason for that, Jon, simply is that the effort to build the international community’s strong support for a diplomatic resolution, or a diplomatic agreement that would shut down every pathway that Iran has to a nuclear weapon is extraordinarily complicated. And so we’re trying to focus on these issues one at a time. And that’s why you continue to see regular, consistent and pretty forceful statements from the United States that these Americans should be released, while at the same time we are working with our P5+1 partners and other countries around the world to compel Iran to sign on to the dotted line and agree to shut down every pathway they have to a nuclear weapon, and cooperate with the most intrusive set of inspections that have ever been imposed on a country’s nuclear program.
—April 20, 2015 during a press briefing
On April 14, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced a peace plan to resolve the conflict in Yemen at a press conference in Madrid. His four-point proposal includes an immediate ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, dialogue among Yemeni factions, and establishing a “broad-based” Yemeni government inclusive of all factions. Zarif also reiterated his opposition to the Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthis, claiming that airstrikes “are simply not the answer.” Saudi military spokesperson Ahmed Asiri responded by calling on Iran to stop arming Houthi rebels.
War on #Yemen must be stopped. We urge ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, intra-Yemeni dialogue & establishment of broad-based government.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 10, 2015
U.S. administration officials have indicated that President Obama would be willing to sign legislation that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove of a nuclear deal. The White House initially threatened to veto the Corker-Menendez bill, arguing that curbing the president’s powers could negatively impact negotiations. But after lawmakers made several changes, including shortening the review period for a final nuclear deal, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that "enough substantial changes have been made that the president would be willing to sign it.”
Iranian officials have dismissed the U.S. Senate Foreign Relation Committee’s approval of a bill that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove of a nuclear deal. “What the U.S. Senate, Congress and others say is not our problem,” President Hassan Rouhani said on April 15. In a televised speech, he also warned that without an “end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement” with the world’s six major powers.
What US Senate, Congress, their hardliners& allies want is not our business. In exchange for engagement, goodwill& respect we seek the same.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 15, 2015
—April 15, 2015 in a televised speech
The following are excerpted statements by Iranian officials on the nuclear framework that was announced by the world’s six major powers and Iran on April 2.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
“Some people would ask why Leader has not yet taken a position on the recent nuclear statement; I would tell them there is no place for taking position at all, since our nuclear negotiators as well as the government say nothing special has happened and no binding agreement has been signed by the two sides.”
On outcome of recent talks, I’m neither for nor against it;according to officials,yet no measure has been taken& there’s no binding results.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
What's been done so far secures neither the main deal nor its contents nor is it even clear whether #talks will bear fruit & lead to a deal.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
I support the negotiators& agree w a deal which ensures nation’s interests but no deal is favorable to a deal agnst #Iran interests&dignity.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
I trust our negotiators but I'm really worried as the other side is into lying & breaching promises; an example was White House fact sheet.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
Hours after the #talks, Americans offered a fact sheet that most of it was contrary to what was agreed.They always deceive &breach promises.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
All #sanctions should be removed just when the deal is reached. If sanctions removal depends on another process then why we started to talk?— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
Islam& reason forbid us from acquiring nukes but #nuclear industry is a necessity for country’s future in energy, medicine, agriculture,etc.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
No unconventional inspection that’d place Iran under special monitoring is acceptable. Foreign monitoring on #Iran’s security isn’t allowed.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) April 9, 2015
President Hassan Rouhani
Centrifuges have to spin and peoples lives, economy have to move forward. Today we have gotten closer to that objective. #RouhaniLive— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 3, 2015
2nd step taken last night laid out the #NuclearDeal framework, 3rd step would be the final agreement in June, & 4th step the implementation— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 3, 2015
Sanctions were not imposed to bring Iran to table, their aim was to make Iran surrender. Claiming sanctions brought us to table is baseless.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 3, 2015
Always a believer in negotiations & dialogue. In fact, was negotiating on this very #nuclear case prior to sanctions.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 3, 2015
If other negotiating party fulfils promises, Iran will fulfil promises. If they choose different a path, other options will be available.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 3, 2015
Good evening ladies and gentleman. Let me again thank you all for having followed our work. We’ve done significant work. If we look back at recent history, and if we succeed, we’ve taken a major step, but we’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be. If we succeed, this will be one of the few cases where an issue is resolved through diplomatic means, an issue of significance. And that would require an approach that would concentrate on a non-zero sum outcome, a win-win outcome. And that was my country’s approach to this from the very beginning.
And that, I think, would be a major step forward. We have stopped a cycle that was not in the interest of anybody. Not in the interest of non-proliferation and not in the interest of anybody to one that will, in fact, be a gain for all parties concerned. And I hope that at the end of this process we will all show that true dialogue and engagement with dignity we can, in fact, resolve problems, open new horizons and move forward.
Iran/P5+1 Statement: "The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions". How about this?— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2015
Iran/5+1 Statement: "US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions." Is this gradual?— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2015
The solutions are good for all, as they stand. There is no need to spin using "fact sheets" so early on.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2015
Iran FM @Jzarif: You cannot speak with our people with language of force and sanctions— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: They first wanted to destroy Arak, mothball Fordow, demanded that we only keep 2-300 centrifuges.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @Jzarif: Kerry brought up an important point in post-understanding interview, saying "Iranians will not surrender"— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: We have never been, or will be, after a bomb. We are not after regional hegemony. We want good relations with our neighbors.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: We've never been after a bomb. Our Leader has fatwa against nukes. We closed touted & supposed bomb routes ourselves.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: We had capability to produce chemical weapons in 80s but inspectors certified that we never did so, even when Saddam gassed us— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: We didn't say one thing in negotiating room and another before media. We didn't produce "fact sheet".— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: When Americans say one thing here and another there, this is not sign of power. Time of force is over.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: There are still brackets in the text If not, we would have an agreement right now.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: Europeans complained to Americans about their claim that EU position on own sanctions was 'suspension' and not 'lifting'— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: In end, we'll have intl agreement, under Ch 7/Section 41 of UN Charter, will terminate previous resolutions & endorse deal— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: Maybe because of their own internal pressures, they (US) write "fact sheets" first and then negotiate.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: US says no fissile material at Fordow. But find one place where Americans mention that 1,000 centrifuges will remain at Fordow.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif (abt negotiation details): We know people have right to know, but don't want to cause hindrance to finalization of deal.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: We're not after being two-faced. We don't play games. We enter talks with seriousness. We don't say one thing, do another.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: We use word 'terminate' abt sanctions in Lausanne understanding bec Mr Kerry used suspend/lift interchangeable— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: On day of implementation of deal, IAEA will verify it, and that day, US will terminate oil, financial, bank sanctions— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: Senators' letter to us sought to drag us into domestic US politics. We will never be dragged into it.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: Until few weeks ago, mention of 'heavy water' in Iran was seen as blasphemy in West. Now look at the Lausanne understanding.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: I prefer not to discuss 'what if' in case of cheating on their side etc. Shouldn't start trust-building w/ mistrust.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: If US was all-powerful, it would not sit at negotiating table with us.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
FM @JZarif: They all said 'heavy water' means 'bomb. We told them that was not the case. Our heavy water reactor last thing to be accepted.— Iran Nuclear Energy (@nuclearenergyir) April 4, 2015
“What Iran wanted eventually took place despite the plans proposed by the U.S., China and Russia; the Arak Heavy Water Reactor will continue to produce plutonium."
—April 7, 2015 according to the press
Photo credit: President.ir