RAMALLAH, West Bank March 4, 2009 — -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is trying to find out what has happened to an American reporter arrested in Iran and vowed that the United States would "use every tool at our disposal to bring her home."
Clinton, on a tour of the Middle East, told ABC News that the arrest of reporter Roxana Saberi, 31, last month and the inability of Saberi's family to contact her "demonstrates the nature of the Iranian government, that a young Iranian-American journalist would be detained this way."
Clinton told ABC News on Tuesday that the State Department was trying to find out Saberi's legal status and location.
"The State Department has reached out to our Swiss contacts to ask for information and express our deep concern about this young woman's fate," Clinton said.
The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran. The Swiss legation represents American interests there.
"We are going to use every tool at our disposal to bring her home," Clinton vowed.
Asked whether she had received a response to the request for information on Saberi, Clinton replied, "As of this moment sitting here I have not yet."
The missing freelance journalist is from North Dakota. Her father is Iranian and Saberi, a former Miss North Dakota, has lived in Iran for the past six years.
Saberi's father, Reza Saberi, said his daughter called him at his home in Fargo, N.D., on Feb. 10 to say she was arrested for buying a bottle of wine. He has not heard from her since.
Alcohol is prohibited in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran's Foreign Ministry told the ISNA news agency that Roxana Saberi had been arrested for "gathering news illegally" because she was working without press credentials. The spokesman for the Foreign Ministry would not say where she was being held.
Her media accreditation was withdrawn twice, the last time in 2006, after which she did not get it back. She had told ABC at the time she did not know the reason for the withdrawal of her accreditation.
Saberi had done past reporting for National Public Radio, BBC, Fox News and ABC Radio.
Father Says Missing Woman Wasn't Working as Reporter
Reza Saberi, however, recently said the Iranian government has no legitimate reason to detain his daughter, "because we know she hasn't been working as a journalist for the past two years in Iran."
He said his daughter had been working on a book about the culture of Iran and intended to return to the United States in two months to finish it.
An official of the Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a statement saying, "We are concerned for the safety of our colleague Roxana Saberi, who has been held incommunicado in Iran. ... The authorities have not charged her with any crime, therefore, they should release her immediately."