Reza Saberi holds a picture of his daughter Roxana. (AP)
Reza Saberi holds a picture of his daughter Roxana. (AP)

Saberi’s parents go to Iran; State Department intervenes

On Monday, the parents of detained Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi left their home in Fargo, North Dakota, to go see their daughter in Iran. Saberi has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison since January 31. Reza and Akiko Saberi are scheduled to arrive in Iran on Wednesday. Since Saberi was picked up at the end of January, Iranian officials have issued conflicting reasons for the detention.

Earlier this month, an official at the public prosecutor’s office was quoted by Iranian news agency ISNA as having said that Saberi’s case was coming to a close and that she would be released shortly. But last week, The New York Times and other news outlets reported that Saberi had been told that she would remain in prison for “months or even years.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told journalists at a conference on Afghanistan taking place at The Hague today that the State Department had delivered a letter to Iranian officials present at the talks urging Tehran to make a “humanitarian gesture” toward Saberi and two other U.S. citizens who are currently being held in Iran–Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared two years ago while on a business trip, and Esha Momeni, an Iranian-American student detained last year.

The letter, excerpts of which were released to the press, asked Iran “to use all its facilities to determine the whereabouts and ensure the quick and safe return of Robert Levinson, and grant the release of Roxana Saberi, and permission to travel for Roxana Saberi and Esha Momeni.” Clinton said that these acts “would certainly constitute a humanitarian gesture by the Islamic Republic of Iran in keeping with the spirit of renewal and generosity that marks the Persian new year.”