Thursday, 27 July, 2017

Iran court sentences United States citizen to 10 years imprisonment

An American student Xiyue Wang sentences 10 years in Iran for spying charges Iran Jails Princeton Ph.D. Student as Spy
Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 02:50

In the same statement delivered on state television Sunday, judiciary spokesman Ejehi said the brother and close aide of President Hassan Rouhani, Hossein Fereidoun, has also been detained for alleged financial crimes, The Associated Press reports.

In a news conference, a spokesman for Iran's judiciary, Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, called Wang one of "America's infiltrators".

The government-approved report published in Tehran said Xiyue Wang was arrested on August 8, 2016, and accused of passing confidential information about Iran to the U.S. State Department, to Princeton's Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, to the Harvard Kennedy School and to the British Institute of Persian Studies. The Iran nuclear deal, negotiated under the Obama administration, has not been met with favor under President Trump's administration. They say the president and his team were too lenient and that the agreement has failed to reap promised economic benefits. They were announced by the judiciary, a pillar of hard-liners' influence.

News of Fereydoun's arrest comes a year after the head of the General Inspection Organisation, Naser Seraj, accused him of financial violations. He has denied wrongdoing. It was hailed as a victory for diplomacy and an end to Iran's global isolation.

Fereydoun has acted as a key adviser to Rouhani, who is perceived as relatively moderate by Western nations and whose first term was marked by an emergent global outreach.

Earlier in the day Mohseni Ejei announced that a U.S. dual national had been sentenced to 10 years in jail on spying charges, the latest case of dual nationals held on security charges in the country.

According to Iranian law, a convicted person has 20 days to appeal a sentence.

The man was identified as Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old researcher at Princeton University, according to Mizanonline, the official news agency of Iran's judiciary. His detention, which reportedly took place in August a year ago, wasn't previously known.

University officials said the school has been working with his family, the USA government, private counsel and others to facilitate his release.

Iran marked the two-year anniversary of the nuclear deal on July 14.

In June, the u.s. Senate has passed a bill for new sanctions against Iran, accused of "supporting acts of global terrorism". It was his first trip to Iran.

Whether by coincidence or part of a meticulous plan, both cases share one important aspect: both will put President Rouhani in a hard position, both at home and overseas, as he begins a second term facing big challenges to fulfil the expectations of an electorate hoping for reform and economic progress.

Under Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ever tighter sanctions drove away foreign investors and enlarged the economic role of state-affiliated organizations controlled by conservatives or the security establishment.