An American student and three other people linked to the U.S. - either citizens or permanent residents - have lost appeals against 10-year prison sentences they are serving for alleged espionage, Iranian authorities said Sunday.
Princeton student Xiyue Wang was imprisoned last summer while conducting dissertation research in Iran. He was subsequently convicted of "collaborating with foreign governments" and sent to prison. Tehran's prosecutor confirmed Sunday that his appeal had been rejected.
Wang was born in China but is a U.S. citizen, enrolled in a doctoral program at Princeton University. A website associated with Iran's
judiciary said that Wang "collected a lot of classified information" during the course of his academic work in Iran.
Princeton, Wang's wife and U.S. authorities have denied he was involved in any improper activities, and the State Department has repeatedly called for his release.
The Tehran prosecutor's office, which announced the failure of Wang's appeal, also said Sunday that appeals for three other prisoners, men with U.S. links and held on similar charges, had been rejected:
- Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his elderly father, Baquer, who are said to be in ill health in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, and
- Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen with permanent-resident status in the United States, who was accused of working for the U.S. government.
Shortly after Wang was sentenced in July, President Donald Trump said that if Iran does not the detained Americans it has been holding, he was "prepared to impose new and serious consequences." An unknown number of Iranians holding European passports are also believed in custody in Iran; among them are British, Austrian and French citizens.