Iran has once again sentenced an American citizen to an Iranian prison on bogus charges, in yet another defiant gesture towards the United States.
This time, the citizen is a college graduate student who was in the country to study ancient Iranian culture. The government sentenced Xiyue Wang of Princeton University to ten years in prison on spying charges, which he and the U.S. government denied.
A number of U.S. citizens have been imprisoned in Iran on spying charges, but the Obama administration did little to get those individuals freed. In fact, President Obama gave them billions without making the release of American prisoners part of the deal…officially. Some were released from their Iranian prison on the same day the cash transfer was made to Iran. This led many to insist Obama paid a ransom for them, which he denied.
The Clarion Project reported on the latest imprisonment, which gets little attention from the same American mainstream media that championed Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
More from the Clarion Project:
Xiyue Wang is a 37-year old graduate student in history at Princeton University. He was in Iran conducting research into the 19th and early 20th century Iranian Qajar Dynasty. He was arrested while trying to leave the country last August.
“This person, who was gathering information and was directly guided by America, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the sentence can be appealed,” Deputy Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejeie announced on state TV on Sunday.
Wang stands accused of gathering “highly confidential articles” about Iran for U.S. and Western institutions including the U.S. State Department, Princeton University, Harvard Kennedy School and the British Institute of Persian Studies.
Iran has a history of imprisoning American citizens on seemingly spurious charges of spying. However, in the past they have mostly arrested American-Iranian dual nationals, as well as dual-nationals of other Western countries such as the UK.
Prisoners, the families of those imprisoned and diplomats told The Guardian last year that some are being held in order to be used as bargaining chips in future prisoner exchanges with Western countries.
“The Iranian regime continues to detain US citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes,” the State Department said in a press statement. “The safety and security of US citizens remains a top priority. All US citizens, especially dual nationals considering travel to Iran, should carefully read our latest travel warning.”
The situation could be a major test of President Donald Trump, as to whether he can use American pressure to gain his release from the Iranian prison.