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Hillel Italie, AP National Writer, Published June 23 2009

Saberi lands book deal

NEW YORK – A journalist jailed for four months in Iran on charges of espionage has a book deal.

Iranian-American Roxana Saberi, 32, is working on a memoir that HarperCollins will publish in March 2010. Saberi’s book, currently untitled, will tell of her arrest in January, her initial sentence to eight years in prison and her release in May after being granted a two-year suspended sentence.

HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham said Monday that the book would not only cover the time after her arrest, but her six years as a reporter in Iran.

“What’s so impressive, I think, is that she managed to keep a sense of perspective about what was happening to her and fit into a larger story about the country,” Burnham said.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Saberi was represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose clients include President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Saberi had started a book about Iran at the time of her arrest and that material will be included in her memoir, Barnett said.

In a case that outraged human rights activists, Saberi was convicted of spying for the United States in a closed-door trial that her Iranian-born father said lasted only 15 minutes. She was freed May 11 and reunited with her parents, who had gone to Iran to seek her release.

Raised in Fargo, and a former Miss North Dakota, Saberi worked as a freelance journalist in Iran for the BBC and other news organizations.

Iranian authorities accused her initially of working without press credentials, but later leveled the far more serious charge of spying. Iran released few details about the allegations that she passed intelligence to the United States.

The United States called the charges baseless and repeatedly demanded her release, and her arrest became an obstacle to Obama’s attempts at dialogue with the longtime U.S. adversary.


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