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Iran Puts US Reporter on Trial for Spying

Roxana Saberi

An Iranian judiciary official says American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi went on trial in Iran this week for allegedly spying for the United States.

Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said Tuesday that her trial began Monday, and that a verdict could be expected in about two weeks.

The United States has rejected as "baseless" the espionage charges by Iran against Saberi. A U.S. State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, flatly denied the charges and called for the journalist's early release.

The 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, who had been working in Iran for several news outlets, including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation, was arrested in late January for working in the country without valid press credentials.

But last week, Iranian authorities announced espionage charges against her, saying Saberi used journalism as a cover to pass classified information to U.S. intelligence services.

Iranian officials said Iran's Revolutionary Court, which handles security issues, is reviewing the case.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Freedom House have all expressed deep concern about the espionage charges.

She is one of three Americans either detained or believed missing in Iran.

The Obama administration has made several overtures for direct dialogue with Iran in recent weeks. U.S. officials have said the action against Saberi is hardly the response they are looking for.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 04/14/09 ... --

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