- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009

Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist jailed for four months on espionage charges in Iran, met Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a brief visit to Washington.

Ms. Saberi, who was freed earlier this month after an international outcry over her arrest and cursory trial, met the secretary in her personal office. The former Miss North Dakota, who was accompanied by her parents during the meeting with Mrs. Clinton, thanked the American people, the State Department, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama for their efforts to secure her freedom.

“When I found out that I had the support while I was in prison, I gained a lot of strength and hope, and I didnt feel so alone anymore,” she told reporters during a brief photo opportunity.

The arrest of Ms. Saberi in February presented the Obama administration with one of its first foreign policy challenges and jeopardized chances for improved relations between the United States and Iran. At a conference on Afghanistan in March, the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, gave an Iranian official a letter asking for Ms. Saberi’s release.

Initially arrested for working with expired press credentials, Ms. Saberi briefly was charged with espionage because she took some official documents home for a job she had translating for an Iranian think tank. She was released after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked the judiciary to review the case.

The freed journalist has limited the number of press interviews she is doing for now to NPR and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Mrs. Clinton’s voice broke as she welcomed Ms. Saberi to the department. “This was a matter of great concern to our country, certainly to the Obama administration, to me personally, not only as secretary of state, but as a mother,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And my heart went out to Roxana and to her parents every single day.”

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