Three Americans, including a reporter for The Washington Post, appear to have been detained in Iran, the newspaper and the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
Jason Rezaian (photo by Zoeann Murphy, The Washington Post)
Two of the detainees are Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent for The Washington Post, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper the Nation, the CPJ said in a statement.
The other two Americans have not yet been identified, but the Post said they work as freelance photojournalists.
The Post said it was unclear who had detained the journalists or why.
"We have received credible reports that Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, were detained on Tuesday evening in Tehran," the Post's foreign editor, Douglas Jehl, said in a statement.
"We are deeply troubled by this news and are concerned for the welfare of Jason, Yeganeh and two others said to have been detained with them. As thePost's correspondent in Tehran, Jason is an experienced, knowledgeable reporter who deserves protection and whose work merits respect," the statement read.
Rezaian, 38, has dual U.S.-Iranian nationality and has worked for the Post in Tehran since 2012. His wife is an Iranian citizen who has applied for U.S. permanent residency and works as a correspondent for a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates, the Post said.
U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington was aware of the reports of the detention of three U.S. citizens in Iran.
"We are not able to comment further at this time due to privacy considerations. Our highest priority is the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad," Harf said.
Iran does not recognize dual citizenship.
Sherif Mansour, CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program coordinator, said: "We call on Iranian authorities to immediately explain why Jason Rezaian, Yeganeh Salehi, and two other journalists have been detained, and we call for their immediate release."
"Iran has a dismal record with regard to its treatment of imprisoned journalists. We hold the Iranian government responsible for the safety of these four," Mansour added.
Besides the four, there are 35 journalists in prison in Iran, according to CPJ.
The detentions would be the latest of U.S. citizens amid frictions between the two countries.
Iran and the United States broke off diplomatic relations in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution but have held increasingly frequent talks as they work on an agreement to address international concerns over Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran has not commented on the alleged detentions.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.
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