Roxana Saberi Released From Iranian Prison 'With My Head Held High'

"The main thing for me was that whenever I do come out of prison, whether it be tomorrow or eight years from now, that I come out with my head held high," she said, "because I don't want to be freed upon a lie. I want to tell the truth even if it means I have to stay in prison."

Roxana Saberi Thanks Hillary Clinton

After returning to U.S. soil last Friday, Saberi has made several stops in Washington, D.C., to thank her supporters, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She said she's ready to get back to North Dakota and write the book she began in Iran.

Saberi, born in New Jersey to an Iranian father and a Japanese mother, said she's still proud of her Iranian heritage, just as she is to be American and Japanese. She said she's hoping that relations between Iran and the U.S. will eventually warm enough for a better understanding between the two wildly different governments.

"Within the regime I believe there are some very influential elements who would like better relations with the United States, and the U.S. should try to reach out -- genuinely try to reach out and sincerely try to reach out -- to those elements."

Though already tense, U.S.-Iranian relations have shown potential for improvement since President Obama took office and indicated his administration's openness to a new approach toward Iran.

Earlier this year, Obama reached out to the Iranian people and the country's leaders, sending them a videotaped message for the holiday of Nowruz.

But the U.S. continues to tangle with outspoken Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During Saberi's imprisonment, Ahmadinejad told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he could not commit to work for her release, saying, "I am not a judge. And I do not pass judgment over judicial cases. In Iran the judiciary is independent. Our judiciary is not a political apparatus. It passes judgment in accordance with the law."

Ahmadinejad eventually sent a letter to the appeals court, and Saberi's sentence was reduced shortly thereafter.

A Long Line of Prisoners at Evin

Though Saberi has put a current face on the prisoners at Evin, there have been dozens of women to come and go before her, and many more that will likely come after.

In a case that bears many similarities to Saberi's, Silva Harotonian, an Iranian aid worker of Armenian descent, remains imprisoned at Elvin, also accused of espionage. Harotonian was employed by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), which works to improve child and maternal health, when she was arrested in June 2008.

She was sentenced in January to three years in prison, according to the Inter Press Service, which quoted her Tehran-based lawyer as saying she lost 24 pounds in one month alone while behind bars.

"Harotonian is completely innocent and has not committed any crime," human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani told the Inter Press Service. "Though she has not been physically hurt, she has had to endure a lot of psychological hardship."

In 2007, Iranian journalist Maryam Hosseinkhah wrote about her imprisonment in Evin because of her writings in support of women's rights. Published on Payvand.com for Change for Equality, Hosseinkhah described visiting the prison first as a journalist and being told by the prisoners of the good conditions, only to be slipped a note that read "Help us! No one thinks about us here."

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