Iran Says U.S. Journalist Tried Behind Closed Doors


The Iranian judiciary spokesman said a verdict is expected within a couple of weeks for the American journalist who was tried for espionage in Iran. The privately held trial was for Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old Iranian-American citizen who was arrested in late January.

Saberi was initially accused of continuing to work as a journalist, despite not having press credentials. Recently, however, an Iranian judge charged her with being a spy for the U.S.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the United States was “deeply concerned” about the new charges issued, which the department described as “baseless. ”

“Yesterday, the first trial session was held. She presented her final defense,” judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters. “The court will issue its verdict within the next two to three weeks.”

Saberi’s release has been called for by the United States government. President Barack Obama has been open about trying to clear lines of communication with Iran, after the country’s very unsteady relationship with the Bush administration.

The charges against Saberi are very serious, which is why so many are confused as to the fast level of pace for the trial.

Jamshidi ridiculed the United States for stating that Saberi was innocent and demanding her release. “That a government expresses an opinion without seeing the indictment is laughable,” he told a news conference.

Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota but has been in Iran for the past six years working for National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation as a freelance reporter. Her parents, who live in Fargo, were able to visit her in Evin prison for 30 minutes. The last time they spoke to her before that visit was on February 10th, when she called to tell them of her arrest.

Saberi’s father, Reza, who was born in Iran, said he would stay in that country until his daughter was freed. He reported that his daughter was finishing a book on Iran and had planned to go back to the United States some time this year.

The Iranian government has arrested many Iranian-Americans in recent years, alleging that their goal is to overthrow the Islamic government in a “soft revolution.” The U.S. ended diplomatic relations with Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, in which radical students overtook the U.S. Embassy.

Obama wants his administration to open communications with Iran and he pledged to rethink their relationship. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that he welcomes communication as long as there is mutual respect, which he feels has not been present in the past.


Bookmark This Article:
| Delicious | Digg: Digg | Technorati: Technorati | Newsvine: Seed this article | Reddit: Add to Reddit | Furl: Add to furl | |
| Stumble Upon: Stumble This Article | Yahoo!: YahooMyWeb | Google: Google |