Iran sentences US citizen accused of spying to 10-year term

Iran sent a Chinese-American history researcher to prison for alleged espionage. 

Iran has sentenced a man with dual Chinese and American citizenship to prison for allegedly “infiltrating” the country.

Iran’s Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Eje’i announced on Sunday that the alleged spy “who was gathering intelligence and was directly guided by the US, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the sentence can be appealed.”

Mohseni Eje’i asserted that the accused entered Iran by “some sophisticated means,” but did not elaborate. He was subsequently identified by Iran’s intelligence bodies and arrested.

While Iran did not officially release the name of the accused, he was identified by a local news outlet as Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old history researcher.

The report also said Wang was born in Beijing and entered Iran as a researcher. It pointed to his graduate studies at Princeton University in 2013 and 2014, and described him as a fluent speaker of Persian.

In a statement, Princeton said Wang was arrested in Iran last summer while conducting research on the 1794-1925 Qajar dynasty for his Ph.D. in late 19th and early 20th century Eurasian history.

“We were very distressed by the charges brought against him in connection with his scholarly activities, and by his subsequent conviction and sentence,” the statement read.

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The university said it has been working with Wang’s family, the US government, private counsel and others to secure his release. It said it was hopeful he would be freed upon appeal.

“The Iranian regime continues to detain US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national security-related charges,” the US State Department said in a statement to the Associated Press. “We call for the immediate release of all US citizens unjustly detained in Iran so they can return to their families.”

Wang is one of several Americans in Iranian custody.

By: World Israel News Staff and AP