- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2009

TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) - The parents of an imprisoned American journalist hope to meet with their daughter as a first step toward seeking her release, their lawyer said Sunday after the North Dakota couple arrived in Iran.

Reza Saberi and his wife, Akiko, arrived early Sunday and immediately began seeking a meeting with Iranian authorities to ask permission to see their daughter, Roxana Saberi, said the lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshai.

Iranian prosecutors have now issued a formal charge or indictment against Roxana Saberi, Khorramshai said, but he has not yet seen the charges and probably will not for several weeks under Iran’s court procedures. He had no further details.

Iranian officials have said Roxana Saberi was arrested for working in the country after her press credentials had expired. Her parents found out about her arrest in a Feb. 10 phone call from her.

Her father has said that Roxana Saberi has told her family she has not been harmed physically but that the detention is psychologically challenging.

Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran. She has lived in Iran for six years and has reported for several news organizations.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last week the United States had given a letter to Iranian officials during a meeting in Europe, seeking Iran’s help in resolving the cases of Roxana Saberi and two other Americans missing or detained in Iran.

The returns of Roxana Saberi, Robert Levinson and Esha Momeni would be a humanitarian gesture, the letter said.

Levinson, a retired FBI agent from Coral Springs, Fla., was last seen on Iran’s Kish Island on March 8, 2007. He disappeared in Iran while investigating cigarette smuggling for a client of his private security firm.

Momeni, a dual U.S. and Iranian national, was visiting Tehran to research a master’s thesis on the women’s rights movement in Iran. Momeni, born in Los Angeles, was arrested Oct. 15 on a traffic violation.

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