10 Years for American Student Charged With Spying in Iran

Princeton student Xiyue Wang was in the country for his doctoral dissertation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2017 3:55 PM CDT
American Student Sentenced to Prison for Spying in Iran
Hossein Fereidoun, brother and top aide of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits in a conference in Tehran, Iran. The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday, July 16, that Hossein Fereidoun has been detained over financial matters.   (Vahid Salemi)

Iran's judiciary said Sunday that the brother of President Hassan Rouhani has been detained, and a Chinese-American citizen sentenced to 10 years behind bars for "infiltrating" the country, reports the AP. The Chinese-American national was identified as Xiyue Wang, 37, who entered Iran as a student, according to Mizan Online, a website affiliated with the judiciary. Wang was not previously known to have been among the Americans detained in Iran, where he faces 10 years in prison. "It was verified and determined that he was gathering (information) and was involved in infiltration," judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi said earlier in the day. Princeton University confirmed with the Guardian that Xiyue Wang is a fourth-year doctoral student in its history department and says he was in Iran solely for the purpose of completing his doctoral dissertation.

“We were very distressed to learn that charges were brought against him in connection with his scholarly work, and to learn of the subsequent conviction and sentence,” the University wrote in a statement. The judiciary spokesman did not elaborate on what specific charges led to the conviction (which he said could be appealed) or say when the verdict was handed down. The US State Department was not immediately able to provide any details on the case. "The Iranian regime continues to detain US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes," it said in a statement to the AP. "We call for the immediate release of all US citizens unjustly detained in Iran so they can return to their families." The US does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Tehran and warns its citizens, particularly dual nationals, that they risk arrest or being barred from leaving Iran. (More Iran stories.)

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