An Iranian court has sentenced an American graduate student to 10 years in prison for spying, the latest case of a U.S. citizen accused of espionage by the Islamic republic.
Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-born U.S. citizen, was arrested last summer while conducting research in Iran for his doctoral dissertation, Princeton University, where he was a graduate student in history, said. Fars, a semiofficial Iranian news agency, quoted Mizan Online, a news agency affiliated with Iran’s judiciary, as saying Wang pursued espionage “through the cover of being a researcher.” Mizan, Fars said, reported that Wang was “gathering secret and top secret [intelligence]” for the U.S. State Department, Harvard Kennedy School, and the British Institute of Persian Studies. He was accused, the Fars report said, of “infiltrating Iran’s national archive and building a 4,500-page digital archive” for “the world’s biggest anti-Iran spying organization.” It did not elaborate.
Wang has 20 days to appeal the sentence against him.
“We were very distressed by the charges brought against him in connection with his scholarly activities, and by his subsequent conviction and sentence,” Princeton said in a statement Sunday after Wang’s sentencing. “His family and the university are ... hopeful that he will be released after his case is heard by the appellate authorities in Tehran.”