America's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is preparing to send a delegation to Iran in a mediation effort seeking the release of jailed American journalist Roxana Saberi.
"We are hoping to secure Ms. Saberi's release and to remove a roadblock to better relations between our two nations," Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told IslamOnline.net.
Saberi, 32, was sentenced to eight years in jail by an Iranian court in a closed-door trial on charges of spying for the US, in the harshest sentence meted out to a dual national on security charges in the Islamic Republic.
The Muslim delegation groups Awad, CAIR Board Chairman Senator Larry Shaw, Board Member Sarwat Husain and Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
They are preparing to leave for Iran during the next few days once their visas are issued and approved.
In an April 17 letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, CAIR requested that a delegation be allowed to travel to Tehran to discuss Saberi’s case with Iranian officials.
"This initiative is based on CAIR's request for a 'gesture of reconciliation' from the Iranian government and does not deal with the merits of the case one way or another," Awad clarified.
The Obama administration has blasted the Iranian charges against Saberi as unfounded. (More)