Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said an American journalist sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of spying for the US should be allowed to offer a full defense during her appeal, the state news agency reported Sunday. The statement came a day after Iran announced the conviction and sentence for Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen. It was the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of espionage and her lawyer said he will appeal. "Prepare for the court proceedings ... to observe and apply justice precisely," the IRNA state news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. He instructed chief Teheran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi to personally ensure that "suspects be given all their rights to defend themselves" against the charges.