Middle EastNews

US and Iranian Men Released in Prisoner Swap

A Chinese-American researcher convicted of spying in Iran has been freed in an apparent exchange for the release of an Iranian scientist held by the US.

“Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter.

“Many thanks to all engaged, particularly the Swiss government.”

Xiyue Wang was arrested in Iran in 2016 for “collaborating with foreign governments”.

Massoud Soleimani, a stem cell expert, was arrested at a Chicago airport last year. He was accused violating trade sanctions by trying to export biological material to Iran.

Both deny the charges.

U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed Wang’s release.

“We thank our Swiss partners for their assistance in negotiating Mr. Wang’s release with Iran,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

U.S.-Iranian relations have strained since the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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