Iran hints US reporter's sentence may be eased

Iran's judiciary spokesman said Tuesday that an eight-year jail term for an American journalist may be reconsidered on appeal, an indication her sentence will be commuted. Ali Reza Jamshidi's statement was a rare prediction about a case from the judiciary and was the latest hint Iran could be backing off from the imprisonment of 31-year-old Roxana Saberi on charges of spying for the US. The case has been a source of tension with the US at a time when President Barack Obama is trying to open a dialogue with Iran in an effort to end the decades-long diplomatic standoff. The US has called the accusations against Saberi, a dual American-Iranian citizen, baseless and has demanded her release. "We can't influence the judge's verdict (but hope) the verdict will be reconsidered at the appeals court," the official IRNA news agency quoted Jamshidi as saying.