Tue, Jul 18, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Iran sentences detained Chinese-US academic

AP, TEHRAN

Iran has imprisoned a Chinese-US man for 10 years after accusing him of “infiltrating” the country and detained Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brother over allegations of financial misconduct, authorities said on Sunday.

News of the detentions comes less than two months after relative moderate Rouhani beat a hard-line opponent to win re-election by running in large part on his record of pursuing greater engagement with the West. They were announced by the judiciary, a pillar of hardliners’ influence.

The Chinese-US dual national was identified as Wang Xiyue (王希悅), a 37-year-old history researcher, according to Mizan Online, a Web site affiliated with the judiciary.

He was not previously known to be among the handful of Americans detained in Iran.

“It was verified and determined that he was gathering [information] and was involved in infiltration,” Judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi said during a routine news briefing.

Ejehi did not identify Wang by name, but hours after he spoke, Mizan published an article attributed to an unnamed source that revealed his identity and included several photographs of him apparently taken from the Internet.

The Mizan article said he was born in Beijing and entered Iran as a researcher.

In a statement, Princeton University said Wang was arrested in Iran last summer while conducting research on the 1794 to 1925 Qajar Dynasty for his doctorate of philosophy in late 19th and early 20th-century Eurasian history.

Wang was arrested on Aug. 8 last year and is accused of passing confidential information about Iran to the US Department of State, Princeton’s Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, the Harvard Kennedy School and the British Institute of Persian Studies, Mizan said.

It alleged he recorded about 4,500 pages of digital documents.

The US state department was not immediately able to provide details on the case.

Meanwhile, the arrest of the president’s brother stunned many in Iran.

Ejehi said the brother, Hossein Fereidoun, was taken into custody over allegations of financial impropriety and is eligible for bail, but has not yet paid it.

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