FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Trita Parsi
Phone: 202 386 6407
Washington, D.C. – Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement in response to the sentencing of Princeton doctoral student Xiyue Wang to ten years in prison:
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“We condemn the unjust detention and sentencing of Xiyue Wang, a Princeton student conducting research on the Qajar Dynasty in Iran. From the evidence made public by Iran’s Judiciary against Mr. Wang, it appears that his only crime was to read books at a public library. To conflate a historian’s use of a public archive with espionage is absurd. By definition, there are no classified state secrets at public archives. To claim otherwise only shows how bizarre the Iranian judiciary’s definition of security has become.
“Academic exchanges have always persisted in some form despite the tense relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The arrest and detention of Mr. Wang is a direct assault on academic exchange, human rights, and the future of peaceful diplomacy. We call for the release of Mr. Wang as well as that of other dual nationals held by the Iranian judiciary on trumped up charges, such as Siamak Namazi and Baquer Namazi.
“These unjustified detentions tarnish the image of Iran in the eyes of the world. Unfortunately, there are elements in Iran that seek to unjustly arrest Westerners in order to undermine Iran’s economic reintegration into the world because they fear that an end to Iran’s isolation will diminish their grip on the country. In this context, suggestions by the Trump administration that it is seeking regime change in Iran only make matters worse, as it used by repressive elements in Iran to justify and intensify their repression.”