After a closed-door trial in an Iranian court, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been convicted of “espionage charges.” Rezaian, of course, is not the only American facing unjust imprisonment in Iran. Our newest peace partner also holds Saeed Abedini — a pastor imprisoned for his Christian faith — and Amir Hekmati, a former Marine. (Iran may also hold former FBI agent Robert Levinson, but his whereabouts are unknown.) According to my former colleagues at the American Center for Law and Justice, Abedini’s treatment has worsened since Iran and the U.S. completed their so-called nuclear “deal.”
Let’s be clear about what’s happening here. To complete its nuclear deal with the United States, Iran was unwilling to make even the smallest goodwill gesture. The three imprisoned Americans do not threaten Iranian national security, and their release would be a small thing compared to the geopolitical ramifications of the overall nuclear agreement. The fact that Iran was not only unwilling to make that small gesture but instead chooses to continue to prosecute and persecute Americans speaks loudly about Iranian good faith and American bargaining strategy. Combine Rezaian’s conviction with Iran’s weekend ballistic missile test, and it’s clear that Iran is essentially spiking the football, taunting the United States at the expense of American citizens and America’s international reputation.
American weakness is dangerous for American citizens. Just ask Jason Rezaian.