ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
New details are emerging about the claims the Iranian government made against Roxana Saberi. She is the Iranian-American journalist who was freed this week from a prison in Tehran after her eight-year sentence was reduced. Saberi had freelanced in Iran for NPR and other news organizations. Today, one of her lawyers said the Iranian prosecutor made the claim that Saberi was actively recruited by a CIA agent. NPR's Mike Shuster has our story.
MIKE SHUSTER: The Iranian authorities introduced several pieces of evidence they claimed as proof that Saberi was guilty of espionage. What was known about the evidence leveled against her before today was this: She copied a confidential document belonging to the Iranian Expediency Council, an agency of the Iranian government connected to the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. That document concerned the U.S. war in Iraq. And she traveled to Israel, which the authorities claimed was suspicious and illegal.
She admitted traveling to Israel to seek work as a journalist. Today, one of her attorneys, Saleh Nikbakht, disclosed additional details of the prosecution's case, including the allegation that Saberi had met with a person identified only as Mr. Peterson, who told her he worked for the CIA and tried to recruit her into the agency.
Mr. SALEH NIKBAKHT (Attorney): (Foreign language spoken)
SHUSTER: She said that yes, she had met a Mr. Peterson, Nikbakht told NPR, and that Mr. Peterson asked her to work for the CIA. But she took it as a joke, and didn't take him seriously.
It appears that in an earlier interrogation, Saberi had been questioned about this Mr. Peterson and had given answers that she then recanted during the appeals procedure. She told the appeals court, according to her lawyer, that what she said about Peterson earlier had been a lie.
As for the trips to Israel, during the appeals procedure, she said she had traveled to Israel for fun as a tourist, according to the attorney. The authorities also said Saberi was in possession of a report from the Center for Strategic Studies, which is connected to the office of Iran's president. But that report was determined to be unclassified. In the end, the appeals court dismissed all the charges and claims against her, with the sole exception of the document she kept from the Expediency Council. As a result, her sentence was reduced and suspended, and she will be permitted to leave Iran for the United States. She spent more than three months in Tehran's Evin Prison.
Mike Shuster, NPR News.