Business & Tech

Jason Rezaian named Nieman fellow at Harvard

Freed Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian speaks during the inauguration of the Washington Post Headquarters on January 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Rezaian was released from Iran after 18 months behind bars on spying charges. / AFP / Mandel NganMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/file 2016

Jason Rezaian.

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who was jailed in an Iranian prison for 18 months after being accused of espionage, will spend the coming year at Harvard University as a Nieman journalism fellow.

Rezaian, 40, the Post’s former Tehran bureau chief, was arrested in July 2014 along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who was freed after three months. Rezaian was convicted of espionage and remained jailed until January, when he was released in a prisoner swap negotiated between the US and Iran.

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According to the Post, Iranian officials never specified why they were targeting Rezaian, who denied the charges, and never released evidence of any wrongdoing by him.

While at Harvard, Rezaian, who was born in California and has dual Iranian-American citizenship, will study “what the new arc of US-Iran relations means for American foreign policy in the Middle East” and “examine the possibilities and the challenges of this diplomatic opening,” according to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism.

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Through a Post spokeswoman, Rezaian said he was not available for comment.

Each year, the Nieman Fellowship program selects up to 24 mid-career journalists to spend two semesters at Harvard participating in campus events, collaborating with peers, and auditing classes, including courses at MIT and Tufts.

The class of 2017 will comprise 12 U.S. fellows, 12 international fellows, and six shorter-term visiting fellows. They include reporters, writers, editors, photographers, producers, filmmakers, digital strategists, and news executives.

Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at pfeiffer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SachaPfeiffer.
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