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American prisoner freed from Iran

Xiyue Wang
Xiyue Wang with his wife and son before he left for Iran

An American graduate student held prisoner in Iran for three years on suspicion of spying is on his way back to the United States this morning, reports CNN.

Xiyue Wang is being evaluated by doctors in Germany at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center which is operated by the US Army.

“Our family is complete once again,” his wife, Hua Qu, said in a statement published in the Politico.“Our son Shaofan and I have waited three long years for this day and it’s hard to express in words how excited we are to be reunited with Xiyue. We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen.“

President Trump announced the release of the Princeton graduate student this morning. Wang release is apparently part of a prisoner exchange which also lead to the release of Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian held in the U.S.

“The highest priority of the United States is the safety and well-being of its citizens,” Trump said. “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.”

Born in Beijing, Wang immigrated to the United States in 2001 and became a naturalized citizen in 2009. He went to Iran to study Farsi and to work on his dissertation. Princeton has long advocated for his release maintaining he was not involved in any political activities.

His wife as recently as August has criticized the United States for using her husband as a bargaining chip and not doing more to win his release. Wang was convicted of spying in 2017 and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Wang is expected to arrive in Washington, DC on Monday, according to Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese businessman resident in the United States who was freed from Iran four years ago. He told Reuters he was the first to learn of Wang’s release and informed the family.

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1 COMMENT

  1. RE: American prisoner freed from Iran: I am glad that he is being released. Some in our community abandoned him because they truly believed that he was spying for the CIA in Iran. I believe that conspiracy rumor was misguided. Our AAPI academics deserve more respect than that. We should give them the benefit of the doubt until concrete evidence shows otherwise. Both the Chinese and American governments sought his release. I hope that he enjoys this Christmas with his family.

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