Princeton researcher freed from Iran urges release of other prisoners
Xiyue Wang, A Princeton University scholar who was freed from Iran this month after three years in captivity said on Monday that his release "is a victory of humanity and diplomacy across nations and political differences."
Xiyue Wang and his wife, Hua Qu, said in a statement to journalists that the family is doing well and overjoyed by the support they have received. They say their joy is tempered by the fact that other prisoners remain in Iran.
Wang was released on 7 December as part of a prisoner exchange that saw America release a detained Iranian scientist. It was a rare diplomatic breakthrough between Tehran and Washington after months of tensions.
Iran's female political prisoners
Iran is holding numerous women in jail on political charges. They include human rights activists, journalists, artists and simply engaged citizens. By Shabnam von Hein
Bahareh Hedayat: A women's rights activist and prominent figure in the student movement in Iran. In 2010, shortly before her wedding, she was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison. She was head of an organisation fighting for political reforms and against human rights violations
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: An employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, she has been in jail since April, 2016. She has both British and Iranian citizenship, and wanted to visit family in Iran with her two-year-old daughter. She is accused of participating in efforts "to cause the soft toppling of the Islamic Republic." Her foundation, which educates journalists worldwide, has called the allegations groundless
Zahra Rahnavard: Wife of opposition politician Mir Hossein Mousavi, she is perhaps the most well-known of Iran's female political prisoners. After the disputed presidential elections in 2009, she backed her husband. The sculptor and academic has been under house arrest with her husband since February 2011 without charges
Narges Mohammadi: A human rights activist, she was sentenced to 16 years in prison in May 2016, although her work is seen as peaceful. At the end of June, she began a hunger strike after authorities restricted telephone contact with her young son and daughter. After 20 days on hunger strike, she was granted permission to speak once a week with her children
Homa Hoodfar: The Canadan-Irish-Iranian anthropologist has been jailed at Tehran's Evin Prison since 6 June 2016. The renowned academic was arrested during a private visit to Iran. She had planned to research women in Iranian politics. She was accused of creating security problems in the Islamic Republic by taking part in feminist activities
Reyhaneh Tabatabaei: The political journalist has been arrested many times, most recently in January 2016. Reyhaneh Tabatabaei was accused of "propaganda against the state." She supported reform activists. Tabatabaei was sentenced to a year in prison and was handed a two-year employment ban. The Revolutionary Court also prohibited her from participating in any political activities for two years
Fariba Kamalabadi: After eight years behind bars, Fariba Kamalabadi (third from right) was granted temporary release in May. Until 2008, she was one of Iran's leading Baha'i figures. She was sentenced to 20 years for her religious beliefs. While on release she visited Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani. Several grand ayatollahs denounced the visit as a "betrayal of Islam"
"Xiyue's release is a victory of humanity and diplomacy acrossnations and political differences," the couple said in a statement. "We urge world leaders to come together and find the compassion and common ground to free all political prisoners as soon as possible. Where there is a will, there is a way."
Wang, a Chinese-American academic, was arrested in Iran in 2016 while conducting research for a doctorate in late 19th- and early 20th-century Eurasian history, according to Princeton. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison there for allegedly "infiltrating'' the country and sending confidential material abroad. Wang's family and Princeton strongly denied the claims.
The United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said "there was no legal basis for the arrest and detention.''
The prisoner trade took place on the tarmac of a Swiss airport, and Wang and Qu on Monday thanked officials in both the United States and Switzerland for facilitating it. He was freed in exchange for scientist Massoud Soleimani, who was accused in the U.S. of violating sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran.
Multiple other hostages and detainees remain in Iran. They include Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007, as well as U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, who is serving a 10-year espionage sentence. (AP)