Scholar swapped for US-held Iran sci­en­tist

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

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.

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