Iran has confirmed that Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has indeed been arrested, following earlier reports that the journalist had been detained.
The newspaper received reports earlier this week that Rezaian, the Post's Tehran correspondent and a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, had been detained along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi and two others.
Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, the head of the Tehran Province Justice Department, did not say why Rezaian was arrested, only telling reporters on Friday that the “Washington Post journalist has been detained for some questions and after technical investigations, the judiciary will provide details on the issue."
During his remarks, Esmaili also condemned Israel's invasion of Gaza, but did not specify whether the two events are connected in any way. Rezaian has been the Post's Tehran correspondent since 2012, and his wife is an Iranian citizen who has applied for permanent U.S. residency. The two others detained with them are also American citizens.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department told the Washington Post, "Our highest priority is the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad."
Iran is one of the world's worst countries for journalists, according to press freedom groups. There are 35 other journalists in jail there, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. It is the world's second bigger jailer of journalists, after Turkey.