Colleagues say US student imprisoned in Iran is scholar, not spy

By REUTERS
July 18, 2017 13:36
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

PRINCETON, NJ - By the time Princeton University graduate student Xiyue Wang arrived in Iran to conduct research for his doctorate in history, he had already spent years living and working in politically turbulent countries.

The Chinese-born US citizen previously worked as a Pashto translator for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan and spent time in Uzbekistan while a student at Harvard University.

Wang, 37, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on spying charges after his arrest last summer, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said on Sunday. He is the latest American citizen to face jail in Iran for what the US State Department has repeatedly denounced as fabricated charges.

His sentencing shocked his colleagues at Princeton, who described him in interviews as a quiet but collegial scholar whose intellectual curiosity stood out even among graduate students at the elite school in New Jersey.

Wang is married and has a young son. In addition to Pashto, English and his native Mandarin, Wang is also proficient in Russian and Turkish and was learning Persian in Iran.


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