Iran: Held US graduate student to be exchanged for scientist

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s foreign minister says a detained Princeton graduate student will be exchanged for an Iranian scientist held by the US.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday. The trade involves graduate student Xiyue Wang and scientist Massoud Soleimani.

There was no immediate acknowledgment of the trade by the US lawyers involved in the cases could not be immediately reached.

Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for allegedly “infiltrating” the country and sending confidential material abroad. His family and Princeton strongly denied the claims. Iran has detained dual nationals and those with Western ties in the past to be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Soleimani — who works in stem cell research, hematology and regenerative medicine — was arrested by US authorities on charges he had violated trade sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran.

He and his lawyers maintain his innocence, saying he seized on a former student’s plans to travel from the US to Iran in September 2016 as a chance to get recombinant proteins used in his research for a fraction of the price he’d pay at home.

Source: Arab News

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