Iran /USA Prisoner Swap – Espionage Charges v Trade Violations

Iranian and US Authorities have confirmed that a prisoner swap took place simultaneously in Zurich, Switzerland.

The prisoner swap involved Xiyue Wang, a graduate from Princeton University, who was detained in August 2016, then in July 2017 was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran on espionage charges and Massoud Soleimani, a 49-year-old professor and biomedical researcher at Tehran’s Tarbiat Modares University who had been held in a US prison for 14 months for violating trade sanctions.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif acknowledged both prisoners in a tweet  saying; “Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet; “Another American is coming home. Xiyue Wang, who has been held on false charges in Iran for over three years, has been released and is on his way back to the United States. Mr Wang will soon be reunited with his wife and son, who have missed him dearly.”

In a Statement President Trump said; “After more than three years of being held prisoner in Iran, Xiyue Wang is returning to the United States.  A Princeton University graduate student, Mr Wang had been held under the pretence of espionage since August 2016.  We thank our Swiss partners for their assistance in negotiating Mr Wang’s release with Iran.  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.”