By Ali Akbar Dareini, AP
TEHRAN, Iran — A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for months has been indicted and will stand trial, Iran’s state news agency reported Wednesday, without elaborating on what charges he faced.
The report by the official IRNA news agency came the same day as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif before talks with world powers resume over the Islamic Republic’s contested nuclear program.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the two events were connected, though Zarif earlier said he hoped the case against reporter Jason Rezaian could be ��resolved.��
IRNA quoted Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi saying Rezaian, the newspaper’s bureau chief in Tehran since 2012, had been indicted. He was previously charged last month, but the bill of indictment clears the way for his trial.
The IRNA report did not disclose what charges Rezaian, an Iranian-American who holds dual citizenship, faces, nor when his trial would begin. However, the report says he will stand trial in Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which mostly hears cases involving security offenses.
The newspaper and Rezaian’s mother have repeatedly called for his release.
IRNA quoted the prosecutor as saying Rezaian’s mother met twice with him on her recent visit to Iran.
Rezaian, his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists initially were detained July 22 in Iran’s capital, Tehran. All later were released except Rezaian.
The U.S. State Department repeatedly has raised the subject of Rezaian and other Americans jailed in Iran during talks with the government about a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear capacity and ease international sanctions.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday that the U.S. was aware of the Iranian press reports and was seeking further information.
The U.S. and its partners are hoping to clinch a deal with Iran that would set long-term limits on Iran’s enrichment of uranium and other activity that could produce material for use in nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is solely for energy production and medical research purposes. It has agreed to some restrictions in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from U.S. economic sanctions.
Hard-liners in Iran have grown increasingly critical of Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani’s efforts at negotiations, though Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly has backed the talks. Putting Rezaian on trial could come into play as talks with world powers resume Thursday.