Iran sentences Princeton graduate student to 10 years for espionage, report says

Iran sentences Princeton graduate student to 10 years for espionage, report says
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Iran has sentenced a Chinese-American graduate student to 10 years in jail over espionage charges, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

A report from an Iranian news agency cited by the Post identified the student as Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old Princeton University graduate student. The report said that Wang holds dual American and Chinese citizenship, but the Post was unable to corroborate that claim.

The Associated Press said that, before the sentencing, Wang was not one of the Americans understood to be imprisoned in Iran.

“It was verified and determined that he was gathering [information] and was involved in infiltration,” Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, a spokesperson for Iran’s judiciary, said, as reported by the AP.

The vice president of communications for Princeton University told the Post in a statement that Wang had been arrested last summer while conducting research in Iran for his dissertation.

“Since his arrest, the university has worked with Mr. Wang’s family, the U.S. government, private counsel and others to facilitate his release,” Daniel Day told the newspaper. 

“We were very distressed by the charges brought against him in connection with his scholarly activities, and by his subsequent conviction and sentence. His family and the university are distressed at his continued imprisonment and are hopeful that he will be released after his case is heard by the appellate authorities in Tehran.”

The State Department in a statement to the Post called on Iran to release the U.S. citizens it has “unjustly detained.”

News of Wang’s imprisonment comes one day before the deadline for the Trump administration to affirm that Iran is complying with nuclear restrictions as part of the deal reached two years ago between Iran, the United States and other international powers.