Detained Journalist's Father Vows To Stay In Iran Journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been detained in an Iranian prison since Jan. 31, had surprise visitors Monday: her parents. Saberi's father, Reza, tells NPR that Roxana is in good spirits. And that he doesn't plan to leave Tehran until his daughter's case is resolved.
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Detained Journalist's Father Vows To Stay In Iran

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Detained Journalist's Father Vows To Stay In Iran

Detained Journalist's Father Vows To Stay In Iran

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An update now on the detained journalist Roxana Saberi. She was arrested in Iran on January 31st, and has been in prison there ever since. Roxana has reported for NPR, the BBC and other news organizations. She was born and raised in the US, and has both American and Iranian citizenship. Her parents have traveled from their home in North Dakota to Iran, and yesterday, they were allowed to meet with their daughter in prison for the first time. And her father, Reza Saberi, joins us now from Tehran.

Mr. Saberi, tell us about this meeting with your daughter yesterday.

BLOCK: We met about 10 o'clock in the morning yesterday, and she was quite surprised to see us. We were also very excited that we were able to see our daughter.

BLOCK: Oh, I'm sure.

BLOCK: She looked pale and a little weak, but when we talked, her spirits were good. She said that she eats now, and she even exercises. And some changes have happened, that they have given her a television that she could watch the local channels, and she could read books. They had allowed her to receive a few of her books. And she gave us a list of the books that we will take her in a few days.

BLOCK: You mentioned that she was surprised to see you. It sounds like she had no idea you were coming.

BLOCK: She had no idea that we were coming. Apparently, they just suddenly tell her that you have visitors, and she came to the room. And when she saw us, she was completely surprised, you know.

BLOCK: Were you alone in that meeting, or were there people from the prison there with you?

BLOCK: No, it was my wife and I, and there was, of course, another person.

BLOCK: Mm-hmm. So this was a minder, or someone from the prison who was there in the room with you.

BLOCK: Yes. This was the person who was listening to our conversation while we were visiting our daughter.

BLOCK: Mm-hmm. Mr. Saberi, what did your daughter tell you about the Iranian government's case against her? What does she understand it to be?

BLOCK: She told us that she would like to visit her lawyer again, and that in the file there are certain things that are not true. And she wanted to point out to the lawyer that some of the statements were made under pressure, under even threats, you know, so that they were not valid.

BLOCK: It sounds like these were statements that were being made while she was being interrogated in prison, is that right?

BLOCK: Interrogated and apparently threatened, under threat, under pressure. She had made some statements.

BLOCK: You mentioned a little bit earlier a list of books that you hoped to be bringing to Roxana. You clearly are assuming that you will be allowed to see her again.

BLOCK: Yes. I hope that at least once weekly, an hour to see her. There is a day of visitation. On that day, we will try to go and see her again. There are some (unintelligible), some ceremonies; we have to go sort of sit on the steps before we can see, but all that can be done on the same day. Yeah.

BLOCK: Mm-hmm. And are you planning to stay in Tehran until your daughter is released?

BLOCK: I, myself, yes. I plan to stay here. And if it takes a bit long, then my wife might return to the States. But I will stay here until this case is resolved.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Saberi, it's great to talk with you. Thank you so much for taking the time.

BLOCK: You're welcome.

BLOCK: That's Reza Saberi, talking with us from Tehran. He's the father of journalist Roxana Saberi, who's been imprisoned in Iran for more than two months now. Among the books she asked her father to bring: Plutarch's "Lives," the autobiography of Mohandas Gandhi and a French dictionary. Mr. Saberi says his daughter hopes to work on her French while she's in prison.

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