The American public radio network, National Public Radio (NPR) lists links to 22 broadcast stories to which Roxana Saberi contributed as a journalist or which she prepared herself (between May 2003 and August 2007). The list of these stories is noted below (without links), and can be found here, with links.
In addition, NPR says that “In addition, reports from Roxana Saberi have been included in NPR newscasts, which are not transcribed, as recently as January 2009”.
Saberi was apparently arrested on 31 January.
On 10 March, an expression of concern combined with a request for information about her condition was signed by executives of these news organizations: NPR, ABC Television, BBC, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, Public Broadcasting System, and Feature Story News, in which they said that “For the past six years, Ms. Saberi has resided in Iran, where she is an established and respected professional journalist. She has filed for NPR, ABC, BBC and others. Before her arrest, she was pursuing a master’s degree in Iranian studies and international relations and writing a book about Iran … Roxana Saberi is a U.S. citizen, born in New Jersey, raised in North Dakota and educated in Minnesota. She has many friends and colleagues across the nation”… This statement can be read in full here.
Photo of Roxana Saberi 12 years ago, as Miss North Dakota beauty queen in 1997.
On the 18th of April, NPR issued a statement “appealing for Ms. Saberi’s immediate release and return to the United States. NPR President & CEO Vivian Schiller said this morning, ‘We are deeply distressed by this harsh and unwarranted sentence. Ms. Saberi has already endured a three month confinement in Evin Prison, and we are very concerned for her well-being. Through her work for NPR over several years, we know her as an established and respected professional journalist. We appeal to all of those who share our concerns to ask that the Iranian authorities show compassion and allow her to return home to the United States immediately with her parents’.” This statement is posted here.
No one has explained, so far, why Saberi’s Iranian press credentials were revoked in 2006 — the same year she apparently made more than one trip to Israel. This is something worth following up on … It might be possible to report from the U.S. without any press credentials (especially if you are an American citizen), but this is surely not true for most other countries of the world.
Nor has there been any explanation of why Saberi’s case evolved the way it did, by comparison to the Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi, who was beaten — and probably worse — to death in Evin Prison in 2003. Kazemi had been arrested outside Evin Prison while trying to photograph visitors to family members imprisoned inside.
And, yes, an Iranian blogger sentenced to lashes and several years in jail, and suffering from depression, did die in Evin Prison recently — apparently due to an overdose of his own medication — while several other bloggers are still in jail. See our earlier posting here.
The BBC’s John Leyne in Teheran wrote a story on Friday 15 May, entitled Trying to explain the Saberi case, that, in his view, “For anyone who knows Roxana Saberi, the idea that she was a spy was faintly ridiculous. And working as a journalist without a press card would be the worst possible cover. The case grabbed headlines around the world. Her father, Reza Saberi, said she became a symbol for press freedom. But it was also the sight of the fragile-looking former beauty queen, against the might of the Islamic Republic. Who could fail to be moved? … [O]ne former beauty queen, photocopying one piece of paper, can be interpreted as part of a wider plot to undermine the Islamic Republic. As so often in Iran, there are many more strands to the story, much we will never know”. This story can be read in full here.
A very recent BBC profile of Saberi reveals this: “She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with degrees in mass communication and French. Ms Saberi also holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago and another master’s degree in international relations from Cambridge University in the UK. She is currently working on yet another masters degree in Iranian studies. Ms Saberi moved to Iran six years ago and worked as a freelance journalist for various news organisations, including the BBC, before her press credentials were revoked … then came her arrest. The development surprised former BBC Tehran correspondent Frances Harrison, who remembers her as a very careful person. ‘She was a very cautious person and the kind of person who wore a headscarf even at diplomatic functions where there were no restrictions’, she said. ‘She was careful about her reputation, being a young, single woman living in Iran’. She added: ‘She would know as a journalist that she would be under a lot of scrutiny – her phone would be listened to and she would be watched’.” This profile was posted here.
However, according to information just published on NPR in a story by Mike Shuster here, and picked up in our post yesterday here, Saberi travelled to Israel in 2006 — apparently more than once — either “to look for work as a journalist” [this is described in the NPR story as her admission when confronted with evidence by the Iranian prosecutor], or “just for fun, as a tourist” [according to one of her attorneys, Saleh Nikbakht] — both versions are recounted in Mike Shuster’s story here].
LIST OF STORIES POSTED ON NPR WEBSITE
» Middle East: Tehran Enforces Dress Restrictions
Aug-02-2007, Day to Day
» Middle East: Iranians Riot After Gas-Rationing Program Begins
Jun-27-2007, Day to Day
» Middle East: Wary Reaction in Iran to News of Talks with U.S.
May-15-2007, Morning Edition
» News: Iran Calls Release of British Troops a ‘Gift’
Apr-04-2007, Day to Day
» Middle East: Impasse with Britain Stirs Angst in Iran
Apr-01-2007, Weekend Edition – Sunday
» Middle East: Iran Moves on Enrichment Despite Sanctions
Dec-27-2006, Morning Edition
» Religion: Iranians Urged to Dress More Conservatively
Oct-18-2006, Day to Day
»World: Iran Bans Women from Attending Men’s Soccer Games
May-17-2006, Morning Edition
»Middle East: Iran Provides Money to Palestinian Government
Apr-17-2006, Morning Edition
The NPR-provided link leads here, which is a Q + A with Saberi. Because the story deals with the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a transcript is also provided here. According to the transcript, Saberi was asked about the significance of an Iranian pledge, made at the end of a three-day Palestinian conference in Tehran in April 2006, to “provide $50 million to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority”. Saberi’s reply was this: “The significance, I think, is more so that it’s the first time Iran is announcing a specific amount that it’s planning to give to the Palestinian government; although it’s not clear that this money is going to go to Hamas or to the Palestinian Authority. Iran’s Foreign Minister said yesterday at this conference that Iran will be giving the money to the Palestinian government and people. Until now, any time that the United States has accused Iran of giving weaponry or training to Palestinian resistance groups, Iran has always said it gives groups like Hamas only moral and spiritual support. But at the same time, this $50 million is really not that significant, if you consider the amount of money that the Palestinian government needs to function … The head of Hamas, Koled Nasald(ph) [n.b. this must refer to Khaled Mashaal], who was also at this conference over the weekend, has said that this government needs $170 million a month to run. And I spoke to a member of Iran’s Parliament, he’s on the security commission here, and he said that it’s clear that this $50 million that Iran is pledging is not enough, but Iran expects all Muslims of the world to unite and help the Palestinians. And also the foreign minister of Iran had said yesterday that Tehran is calling on other Muslims countries to follow its move. And he also announced that Iran will be setting up a bank account for other countries to contribute“.
»World: Reaction in Iran to Possible U.N. Sanctions
Feb-2-2006, Day to Day
»Middle East: Iran to Press Ahead on Nuclear Technology
Jan-14-2006, Day to Day
»Middle East: Plane Crash in Tehran Kills More than 100
Dec-06-2005, All Things Considered
»Middle East: Iranian Military Plane Crashes into Tehran Building
Dec-06-2005, Morning Edition
»Middle East: Iran’s New Leader Vows to Restart Nuclear Program
Jun-27-2005, Morning Edition
»Arts & Culture: ‘The Lizard’ Raises Eyebrows in Iran
May-13-2004, Morning Edition
»Muslim Clerics Bar Liberals from Iran Elections
Jan-12-2004, Day to Day
»World: Relief Efforts Take Hold in Iran
Dec-31-2003, All Things Considered
»Weapons Inspectors Assess Iran’s Nuke Program
Nov-07-2003, Day to Day
»Fighting Against Discrimination in Iran
Sep-09-2003, Day to Day
»Is Cuba Jamming U.S. Broadcasts to Iran
Jul-31-2003, Day to Day
»World: IAEA Chief to Visit Iran for Nuke Talks
»U.S. and Iran Relations
May-28-2003, Talk of the Nation
This list is posted on NPR’s website here.
In some of the NPR stories, Saberi is identified as Teheran correspondent. In others, she is identified as working for Feature Story News (FSN), whose website is here. Some of the staff of FSN (Saberi was not listed on the FSN website as being on the staff) also work for Fox News and Wall Street Journal Television, and Saberi is said to have also contributed to those media from Iran. On the Free Roxana website, here there is a compilation of some of her reporting (some of what is listed above), and she is identified on one of the 2003 items as “Tehran Correspondent and Bureau Chief for Feature Story News“.
The BBC lists this one story under Roxana Saberi’s name:
Sport – World Football – Iran rejects World Cup ban calls – Last updated: 24 Jan 2006
Mr Ahmadinejad’s comments received international condemnation Disqualifying Iran’s team from the World Cup would create an uproar in Iran, said World Football’s Roxana Saberi in Tehran. This story can be read online here.
There is also another website that was dedicated to obtaining her freedom, which is now being transformed into a website for her own use when she wants, http://www.roxanasaberi.com/, and here we learn that it can now be arranged to contact her for interviews or for speaking requests through Diana Finch, Diana Finch Literary Agency, email@example.com.
UPDATE: THIS www.roxanasaberi.com HAS BEEN UPDATED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF HOURS, AND THE BUSINESS ABOUT CONTACTING DIANA FINCH AGENCY FOR SPEAKING REQUESTS HAS BEEN REMOVED, AS HAVE A COUPLE OF QUITE AMAZING PHOTOS OF SABERI …