Published: Sun, December 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Secures Release of American Student Held In Iran

Trump Secures Release of American Student Held In Iran

Wang's release was part of a prisoner swap where the United States freed Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist who had been arrested previous year on trade violations.

Wang, a United States citizen and Princeton University graduate student, was conducting dissertation research in Iran in 2016 when he was detained and accused of "spying under the cover of research", an allegation his family and the university have denied.

The U.S. government arrested Soleimani in 2018 on charges of violating sanctions against Iran.

"The highest priority of the United States is the safety and well-being of its citizens", read the statement.

'Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas, ' he said.

A senior US official confirmed the release of Massoud Soleimani for Xiyue Wang.

A senior U.S. administration official later on Saturday hinted at the liberation of other Americans in Iran and saw Wang's release as a sign Tehran may be willing to enter discussions over separate political issues. "We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen", she said. Soleimani was expected to return to Iran in the coming hours. The Princeton University Ph.D. student is presently in Germany at an American Army Hospital where he is undergoing a medical evaluation before returning to the United States. He is expected to remain in Germany for several days before returning to the United States.

THIS photo released by the Iranian foreign minister's official Twitter account on Saturday shows Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shaking hands with Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani near a plane at an undisclosed location.

In February, Princeton graduate students held a "Day of Action" demanding that the Iranian regime release Wang.

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Xiyue Wang was arrested in Iran in 2016 for "collaborating with foreign governments". He also wrote to the libraries in Iran he planned to visit, according to Princeton University. He and his lawyers maintained his innocence, saying he seized on a former student's plans to travel from the Iran in September 2016 as a chance to get recombinant proteins used in his research for a fraction of the price he'd pay at home. In the time since, the US has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran's economy. An Iranian official said that Iranian Massoud Soleimani had been freed from USA detention.

"I told them that I had patients that needed my help".

Tensions have been high between Iran and the US since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018.

Stephen Kotkin, the John P. Birkelund '52 Professor in History and International Affairs and Wang's thesis advisor prior to his imprisonment, told The Daily Princetonian in an email that his "joy is beyond words".

Iran retaliated one year later by suspending some of its commitments under the nuclear pact.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that Wang was on the way home to see his family.

Washington has demanded that Iran release all the Americans it is holding, including father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi; Michael R. White, a Navy veteran imprisoned a year ago, and Robert Levinson, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent missing since 2007.

Several dozen Iranians are being held in USA prisons, many of them for breaking sanctions.

Also in Iran are 83-year-old Baquer Namazi and his son, Siamak Namazi, dual Iranian-American nationals facing 10-year sentences after they were convicted of collaborating with a hostile power.

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