From cartoonist Clay Jones about ‘I RAN from Journalism,’ Washington Post reporter Jason Reziain’s detainment in Iran, and Cartoons & Cocktails
It would have been nice if part of the nuclear deal the United States and five other countries recently struck with Iran included the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Reziain and other Americans currently detained in Iran. However, I realize the nuclear deal is important and is a totally separate situation than anyone arrested and detained by the Iranian government.
This is not the Iranian hostage crisis which gripped the nation from 1979 to 1981 and helped destroy the Jimmy Carter administration.
Washington Post reporter Jason Reziain was arrested by the Iranian government on charges of espionage and other crimes. One of the charges is that he identified companies that may have evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran.
In a secret trial in Iran, Reziain has been convicted of crimes that haven’t been explained by the government, nor has his sentence been revealed. The government doesn’t have any evidence that the journalist is guilty of anything other than doing his job.
Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said in a statement, “Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing.” They plan to appeal.
Iran will now try to swing a separate deal for Reziain and other Americans, hoping to get Iranians held by the United States released. The other Americans are Amir Hekmati, a former Marine sentenced to death in January 2012 for espionage, and Saeed Abedini, a pastor detained in Iran in 2012 and sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of attempting to undermine the government.
Every single person I have ever met from Iran has been extremely kind. They are some of the nicest and warmest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I have never met anyone from the Iranian government.
In November, a few of my cartoons, along with hundreds from other professional cartoonists, will be auctioned at an event called Cartoons & Cocktails at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The funds will go towards supporting cartoonists detained, arrested, tortured and oppressed in countries that don’t allow a free press. Support for a free press in other nations should be important to every American journalist.
I realize that my drawing funny pictures of government officials is something that would have made me disappear a long time ago if I wasn’t fortunate enough to be doing it in a free nation.
If you’ll be in the area, I highly recommend attending the event in D.C.