Freed US journo to tell her story

VIENNA: Iranian-US reporter Roxana Saberi said Friday she will soon tell the story of her detention in an Iranian jail after she arrived in Vienna following her release.

Saberi, who was accompanied by her father, mother and brother, told AFP she planned to spend several days in the Austrian capital as "Vienna is calm and relaxing."

Saberi said she would recount the time in jail and her hunger strike protest after she was accused of spying for the United States. "Nobody knows more than I and I will talk about all that in a few days," she said.

Her father Reza Saberi said the family would go on to the United States in a few days.

The 32-year-old woman was released on Monday from Tehran's Evin prison after an eight-year jail term on espionage charges was reduced to a suspended two-year term by an appeals court.

Saberi said her family decided to travel via Vienna as Austria's ambassador in Tehran had been very helpful. "I want to thank him," she said.

Family friend Payam Mohepi said that Saberi was "doing well and very happy.

"At the moment, she has no clear plan yet... whether to come back to the country (Iran) or not," he said.

A film that Roxana Saberi co-wrote with her boyfriend Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi was shown Thursday at the Cannes film festival, but the family said they would not be going to the festival.

A dual US-Iranian national, Saberi had been in Iran for six years and had reported for National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States, Britain's BBC and other foreign media groups.

She was first arrested in January on charges of buying alcohol which is illegal in the Islamic republic.

However, she was later accused of "cooperating with a hostile state," a charge which carries a prison term of one to 10 years under article 508 of the Iranian penal code.

The charge was subsequently amended and Saberi was accused of "gathering classified information with an intention of harming national security" under article 505 of the code.

The Iranian judiciary has said her two-year sentence will be suspended for five years.

Her lawyer Saleh Nikbakht has said that the espionage charges were filed after Saberi obtained a classified report prepared by a research centre of the Iranian presidency office on the US war on Iraq.

Iran's intelligence minister said on Wednesday that Saberi was guilty.

"The verdict shows that she has not been acquitted, she was put on trial and it was established that she had committed an offence," Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster.

Her lawyers had defended her by saying that she could not be charged for cooperating with a hostile state, in this case the United States, as Washington and Tehran could not be defined as being hostile towards each other.

Saberi's original eight-year jail term had caused deep concern in Washington and among human rights groups.

The sentence was the harshest ever meted out to a dual national on security charges in Iran, and came just weeks after US President Barack Obama proposed dialogue with Tehran after three decades of severed ties.