TEHRAN, Iran — An American journalist jailed for four months in Iran was freed Monday and reunited with her parents after an appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence on charges of spying for the U.S. Her parents said they would bring her home to the U.S. within days.
The release of Roxana Saberi, a 32-year-old dual Iranian-American citizen, clears a major snag in President Barack Obama's efforts to engage Iran in a dialogue after decades of shunning the country. Washington had called the charges against Saberi baseless and repeatedly demanded her release.
Saberi's arrest in late January, followed by a secretive, one-day trial and a heavy prison sentence, prompted sharp U.S. criticism. Soon after, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials appeared to back off, suggesting the sentence could be reversed.
On Monday, an appeals court reduced her jail term to a two-year suspended sentence, Iran's judiciary spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, told reporters. Jamshidi said she was free to leave Iran.
"I'm very happy that she is free. Roxana is in good condition," Saberi's Iranian-born father Reza Saberi said after her release.
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Don't say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't know how to play ball. First, the public assertion that a two-state solution is acceptable. Now this. International Poker has just gotten more interesting.