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Iran frees U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi

by Pat Coate | May 12, 2009
"For different reasons, including her cooperation, the fact that she has expressed regret, and also the fact that this was the first time she committed an offense and because of the Islamic principles of compassion and mercy -- the overall verdict of the judges was that she deserves to receive a suspended jail sentence."
- Ali Reza Jamshidi, Iran judiciary spokesperson

A copy of a classified Iranian government report about the U.S. war in Iraq in the possession of journalist Roxana Saberi was a key piece of evidence that led to her conviction on espionage charges, one of the Iranian American journalist's lawyers disclosed Monday.

But a letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for a careful review of the case helped secure her swift release Monday, another of her lawyers said, in an appellate court ruling that surprised Iran watchers and removed a stumbling block in the effort to improve U.S.-Iranian relations.

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