Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, his wife Yeganeh Salehi and two American citizens appear to have been detained in Iran this week, the newspaper and U.S. officials reported on Thursday.
“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,” said the Post’s foreign editor Douglas Jehl in a statement.
Jehl said that the newspaper had received “credible reports” that the four people were detained in Tehran on Tuesday evening, but it is unknown who did it and why.
Rezaian has been the Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012 and holds both American and Iranian citizenship. Yeganeh, who is a correspondent for United Arab Emirates–based the National, is an Iranian citizen who has applied for U.S. permanent residency. The two other American citizens who were detained are freelance photojournalists and haven’t yet been identified by officials.
American journalists have been detained and imprisoned in Iran before. In 2009, freelance journalist Roxana Saberi was convicted for espionage, but successfully appealed her eight-year sentence and was released after four months. The same year, freelance journalists Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were imprisoned after straying over the Iranian border when vacationing in Iraqi Kurdistan. After intense diplomacy, Shourd was released after one year, while Bauer and his friend Josh Fattal were released in 2011.
Hamid Babaei, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the U.N., told the Post in an email that Iranian diplomats are looking into the detentions of Rezaian, Yeganeh and the two photojournalists.