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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 16:33 UK

Freed Saberi thanks supporters

Roxana Saberi: 'I am of course happy to be free and with my parents again'

Roxana Saberi, the US-Iranian journalist released from jail in Iran on Monday, has thanked all those who helped to win her freedom.

She was freed after four months in prison when an eight-year term on charges of spying for the US was cut. She denied the charges.

Wearing a bright blue headscarf, Ms Saberi looked thin but in high spirits.

"I'm very happy to be free and to be with my parents again," Ms Saberi told reporters outside her flat in Tehran.

"I'm thanking all those people all over the world - which I'm just finding out about - who - whether they knew me or not - helped me and my family during this period," she said, smiling.

"I don't have any specific plans for the moment, I just want to be with my parents and friends, and to relax.

"Thank you very much - all of you," Roxana Saberi said, in her first public comments since her release.

Ms Saberi's imprisonment drew international attention and sparked protests calling for her release.

She is now able to leave Iran, but has been banned from working as a journalist there for five years.

Ms Saberi's parents live in the US city of Fargo, North Dakota, and made the journey to Iran to seek her freedom.

Her father, who is Iranian-born, said they were making plans to return home to the US in the coming days.

Spying charge

On Monday, the White House welcomed the release as a "humanitarian gesture".

Ms Saberi was held in Tehran's Evin prison following her arrest in January.

The journalist originally faced a less serious accusation of buying alcohol, and later of working as a reporter without a valid press card.

The spying charge was introduced later, and she was tried and sentenced behind closed doors by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

Ms Saberi worked as a freelance journalist for news organisations, including the BBC and the US-based National Public Radio.



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