Iran has imprisoned a Chinese-American man for ten years after accusing him of “infiltrating” the country and detained President Hassan Rouhani’s brother over allegations of financial misconduct, authorities said Sunday.
News of the detentions comes less than two months after relative moderate Rouhani beat a hard-line opponent to win reelection by running in large part on his record of pursuing greater engagement with the West. They were announced by the judiciary, a pillar of hard-liners’ influence.
The Chinese-American dual national was identified as Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old history researcher, according to Mizan Online, a website 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 press 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 photos of him apparently taken from the internet.
The Mizan article said he was born in Beijing and entered Iran as a researcher. It pointed to graduate studies he did at Princeton University in 2013 and 2014, and described him as a fluent speaker of Persian. Princeton had no immediate comment.
Wang was arrested on Aug. 8, 2016 and is accused of passing confidential information about Iran to the U.S. State Department, 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, according to Mizan. It alleged he recorded some 4,500 pages of digital documents.
The U.S. State Department was not immediately able to provide details on the case. It said its citizens’ safety and security is a top priority.
The U.S. does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with…