Xiyue Wang Biography
Xiyue Wang (Chinese: 王夕越; pinyin: Wáng Xīyuè; born December 31, 1980) is an American citizen who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 after being accused of espionage. A PhD candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University, on 8 August 2016, he was arrested in Iran on charges of espionage while he was conducting research on the Qajar dynasty. It was alleged that he sought access to confidential areas of Tehran libraries, paid thousands of dollars for access, and recorded 4,500 pages of digital documents. In July 2017, he was sentenced to ten years in prison by Iran. In response to the sentencing, the United States Department of State released a press statement saying “The Iranian regime continues to detain US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes.
Princeton University can confirm the release of its graduate student, Xiyue Wang, from Iran. We are working with his family and the U.S. government to ensure his safe and speedy return to the United States. Fuller statement coming shortly. pic.twitter.com/QhUd1nY8uY
— Princeton University (@Princeton) December 7, 2019
Xiyue Wang Career/Early Life
Wang was born on December 31, 1980 in Beijing, China. He earned a BA in South Asian studies from the University of Washington, attended Harvard University from 2006 to 2008, then later worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan. At Princeton, his thesis adviser is Stephen Kotkin.
Xiyue Wang Detainment in Iran
Wang received $8,500 from the Princeton history department to go to Iran, as well as no more than $8,800 from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.
Wang disappeared in August 2016. His wife Hua Qun was notified of his detainment by a local Iranian lawyer.
In Iran he suffers from health issues, but tries to respect local customs, such as fasting on Ramadan.
According to Wang’s wife, he was not warned that American citizens should not travel to Iran.
Xiyue Wang Releasing News
Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, accompanied the Iranian scientist to Switzerland to make the exchange and will return with Wang, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The swap took place in Zurich and Hook and Wang are now en route to Landstuhl in Germany where Wang will be examined by doctors, the official said. Hook is expected to return to the U.S. from Germany alone, as Wang is expected to be evaluated for several days.
“After more than three years of being held prisoner in Iran, Xiyue Wang is returning to the United States,” President Trump said in a statement released by the White House on Saturday. “The highest priority of the United States is the safety and well-being of its citizens. 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.”