More on Diplomacy
I sat in the gallery above the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night surrounded by a broad cross-section of American society that had gathered to witness the national institution known as the State of the Union, or the Address to a Joint Session of Congress as it is known during a new president’s first year in office.
Ali Rezaian didn’t think much of it when he kept receiving phone calls from unlisted numbers at his Mill Valley home on July 22, 2014.
That was until he heard a voicemail from his brother’s boss, Washington Post foreign editor Doug Jehl: “I need to talk to you. Could you please give me a call?”
Rezaian soon learned that his brother, Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, and his brother’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, had been taken from their home in Tehran by unknown assailants.
Amid the joyful reunion with his family Monday in Germany, his first full day of freedom on friendly soil after 545 days in an Iranian prison, Jason Rezaian grabbed the baseball cap that came all the way from his Marin County home.
The cap from Rezaian’s alma mater, the Marin Academy in San Rafael, got there in the hands of Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman, the congressman from San Rafael who had worked, largely behind the scenes, for his former constituent’s release from captivity since Rezaian’s arrest in July 2014.
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman said Saturday it would be "a great diplomatic achievement for the United States" after hearing that former Marin resident Jason Rezaian was to be released after being detained in Iran for the past 18 months.
Huffman said he was still hesitant to call the ordeal over until the Washington Post correspondent had left Iran.
"From my perspective, the most important thing is physically getting Jason up in the air and out of Iranian airspace," said Huffman, D-San Rafael. "That hasn't happened yet."
While tensions flared this week as Iran briefly held 10 U.S. sailors who mistakenly trespassed into its waters, a Mill Valley man continued his relentless crusade to remind the world of someone Iran has held for so much longer — his brother, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian.
But even after traveling to Washington, D.C., many times on this mission in the past 18 months, Ali Rezaian, 45, found himself someplace new and unexpected on this visit: in the House of Representatives, watching President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.