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Japan regrets Iran's conviction of journalist

world Updated: Apr 20, 2009 15:22 IST

Agencies
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Japan has expressed disappointment after Iran convicted an American journalist of Japanese descent of spying for the United States.

"It is regrettable," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said on Monday at a press conference, referring to news on Sunday that Iran has sentenced Roxana Saberi, 31, to eight years in prison. US President Barack Obama has also expressed deep disappointment.

"We would like to wait and see what the United States and Iran will do," he said, adding that Japan, as a country with friendly ties with Iran, could "serve as a mediator" between Washington and Tehran in case dialogue between the two break down over the matter.

Saberi, a dual American-Iranian citizen born to an Iranian father and a Japanese mother, was arrested in late January.

She reportedly grew up in North Dakota, moved to Iran six years ago and worked as a freelance reporter, including for National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.