BRUSSELS — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called for Iran to release an Iranian-American journalist who Iranian authorities say has been detained about a month for allegedly working without press credentials.
Asked about the case at a news conference, Clinton said she was concerned about freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, 31. She said the State Department was working through Swiss officials to request information about Saberi's health, whereabouts and the nature of the charges.
Clinton said she was awaiting Iran's response, but added that the only acceptable outcome was for Saberi to be released and allowed to return to her family in North Dakota.
A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said this week that Saberi was being held in Evin prison north of the capital. The Foreign Ministry said she had engaged in "illegal" activities because she continued working in Iran after the government revoked her press credentials in 2006.
Saberi's father, Reza Saberi, welcomed Clinton's involvement.
"That's very good news. I am optimistic," he said in Fargo, N.D. "They say that it's typical for them (Iran) to hold people in prison for two or three months, interrogate them and release them."
He said a lawyer he has hired is scheduled to see his daughter Saturday. "Hopefully he can find out what the real story is."
Saberi said he and his wife are holding up "day by day. We are hoping that the next day will be better than the day before. At this time we have no other choice but to wait."
The father added that his family was pleased with the attention his daughter's case has received. "All over the world, people have objected to this kind of suppression of freedom. They are voicing their outrage."
Saberi, who was born in the United States to her Iranian father and Japanese mother, has lived in Iran for six years working as a freelance journalist. She has reported for National Public Radio and other media.
Associated Press writer Dave Kolpack in Fargo, N.D., contributed to this report.