FARGO, N.D. - Journalist Roxana Saberi's first time back to her home town since she walked out of an Iranian prison left her fighting back tears yesterday as she thanked friends and supporters.

Saberi, 32, and her parents were greeted at the Fargo airport by a crowd of well-wishers waving "Welcome home Roxana!" banners and lining up for hugs.

When it was her turn to speak, Saberi needed comfort from her parents and North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven as she struggled keep her composure.

"It's the first time I've really cried in public," she said.

Saberi, who spent six years in Iran and has dual citizenship, was arrested Jan. 31 and charged with spying for the United States. The U.S. government denied the charges.

She was sentenced to eight years in prison, but an appeals court reduced that to a two-year suspended sentence and released her May 11.