Obama “disappointed” by Iran sentencing US journo

April 19th, 2009 - 12:28 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, Apr. 19 (ANI): President Barack Obama is “deeply disappointed” by Iran’s sentencing of a US journalist, the White House has said.

An Iranian court has held Iranian-American freelancer Roxana Saberi guilty of spying, and awarded her an eight-year jail term.

The United States is demanding Saberi’s release, and her lawyer will appeal against the sentence, Sky News reported.

The former beauty queen holds citizenship of Iran and the United States. Tehran, however, does not recognize dual nationality.

US-born Saberi was initially arrested in January on charges of buying alcohol, and has been in prison in Tehran ever since.

Her trial on spying charges took place behind closed doors.

The 31 year old, who has lived in Iran for six years, has covered stories for both the BBC and Fox News.

But Iranian officials said her press card was revoked in 2006 and she has since been working “illegally”.

In recent years, several US-Iranians including academics have been detained on security charges, but all have been released just after months.

Saberi’s sentence is the harshest handed out by an Iranian court to a dual-national on security charges.

Her sentence could increase tension between Iran and the United States at a time when Washington is trying to build bridges after 30 years of hostility.

Earlier, the US officials had called the charges “baseless and without foundation” and demanded Saberi’s immediate release. (ANI)

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