U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar says she'll continue to push for journalist Roxana Saberi's release. Saberi's lawyer said today that the dual Iranian-American citizen has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran.
Saberi was tried behind closed doors in a one-day trial on a charge of spying for the U.S. government. The North Dakota native had been living in Iran for six years, working as a reporter for several news organizations, including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
The verdict is the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of spying. Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, says there is still hope that Saberi can be freed.
"People get released ahead of the time when they get sentenced," Klobuchar said. "So we are going to continue to push for this because this young woman should not be a pawn in an international game."
The senator also called for the Obama administration to use diplomacy to secure Saberi's release.
"The president has talked about dealing with Iran in a different manner: 'unclenching our fist' and 'we will reach out to them'; all those kinds of things," Klobuchar said. "There is going to be diplomatic negotiations going on with Iran and I believe the release of Roxana Saberi should be part of the entire picture in our relations with Iran."
Saberi's lawyer told the Associated Press he would appeal the verdict. 31-year-old Saberi was arrested in late January, and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge charged her with espionage.