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Lawyers say Iran has released Fargo woman from prison

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A lawyer for a U.S. journalist jailed in Iran says she has been freed from prison after an appeals court suspended her eight-year jail sentence.

Roxana Saberi, a 32-year-old dual Iranian-American citizen, was convicted last month of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to eight years in prison. An appeals court reduced her jail term on Monday to a two-year suspended sentence.

Her lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, tells The Associated Press that she was released and is "now out of jail."

Earlier Monday, Saberi's father, said he would make plans to return home with his daughter in the next few days. Saberi parents live in Fargo, North Dakota and had traveled to Iran to seek her release.

Meanwhile, friends of Saberi were elated with Monday's news.

The former 1997 Miss North Dakota was arrested in late January. She grew up in Fargo.

"Justice has been served," said Marilyn McGinley, president of the Miss North Dakota pageant. "We are most anxious to get her back in the United States."

Saberi is a graduate of Fargo North High School and Concordia College in neighboring Moorhead, Minn.

Marianna Malm, Saberi's former English teacher at Fargo North High School, was in tears Monday morning as she prepared for work.

"They are tears of joy," Malm said. "It's an overwhelming announcement."

Malm said yellow ribbons are tied around trees in her neighborhood.

"I'm so pleased for her family," Malm said. "What a nightmare this must have been for them."

Malm said Saberi had visited her classroom last year to speak with students about Iran.

"I can't wait to share the news with them," Malm said.