FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, December 7, 2019
CONTACT: Mana Mostatabi | 202.386.6325 x103 | [email protected]
Washington DC – Today, reports emerged that Chinese American Xiyue Wang was freed in a prisoner exchange following three years of unjust detention in Iran.
In response, President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Jamal Abdi issued the following statement:
“We are overjoyed that Xiyue Wang will soon be reunited with his wife and son after more than three years of unjust detention in Iran. Wang, a graduate student of Princeton, had traveled to Iran to study archives and improve his Persian language skills – yet was unjustly detained by state security services and used as a pawn in geopolitical battles. This detention robbed Wang of his freedom and his family, depriving him of years with his wife and son.
“Wang’s release coincides with the release from prison of Masoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist imprisoned in the U.S. on sanctions violations last year. There is a clear playbook for securing the release of imprisoned Americans in Iran. We hope the Trump administration continues to utilize engagement to secure the release of others detained or gone missing in Iran, including Robert Levinson, Siamak and Baquer Namazi and Michael White.
“The Trump administration deserves credit for setting aside its hesitation to engage Iran on its oft-repeated offer to negotiate a prisoner swap. Diplomacy, not pressure and saber rattling, is the playbook that has succeeded in securing the release of individuals unjustly imprisoned in Iran and altered Iran’s security calculus on the nuclear file. We hope that this is just the beginning of the administration’s engagement with Iran. The President can secure long sought-after diplomatic wins by setting aside maximum pressure and investing in diplomacy, as we encouraged along with numerous experts in July. The Swiss government deserves tremendous credit, as well, for once again serving as facilitator between the U.S. and Iran.
“NIAC reiterates its call on the Iranian government to release all foreign citizens, like Wang, who were detained on bogus charges and allow them to reunite with their families. Moreover, Iran must uphold its international human rights obligations and release all prisoners of conscience – including thousands who were arrested for involvement in protests last month.”
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