Scholar swapped for US-held Iran scientist
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES >> A Princeton scholar held for three years in Iran on widely criticized espionage charges was freed Saturday as part of a prisoner exchange that saw America release a detained Iranian scientist, a rare diplomatic breakthrough between Tehran and Washington after months of tensions.
The trade on the tarmac of a Swiss airport saw Iranian officials hand over Chinese American graduate student Xiyue Wang for scientist Massoud Soleimani, who had faced a federal trial in Georgia over charges he violated sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran. The swap, however, had clear limits. Crushing U.S. sanctions on Iran blocking it from selling crude oil abroad remain in place, part of President Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign imposed following his unilateral withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers last year. Those sanctions in part fueled the anger seen in Iran protests.