U.S. student released in prisoner swap with Iran
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 12/09/19, 10:57 am
Iran has freed Xiyue Wang, an American graduate student, in exchange for the release of Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist detained in the United States last year. Switzerland helped broker the deal because the U.S. government has no direct diplomatic relations with Iran.
Why were the two in prison? Wang went to Iran to research the Qajar dynasty for his studies at Princeton University, but Iran accused him of spying for U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Authorities jailed him in 2016 and sentenced him to 10 years for spying. U.S. officials arrested Soleimani last year at a Chicago airport for trying to take lab chemicals out of the country in violation of trade sanctions. An Iranian Cabinet spokesman said Monday the country wants to do more prisoner swaps with the United States.
Dig deeper: Read my report in The Sift on Iran’s growing nuclear strength after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.