An American detained in Iran since 2016 accused of espionage was released and is on his way to his country, President Donald Trump announced on Saturday. "After more than three years as a prisoner in Iran, Xiyue Wang is returning to the United States," Trump said in a statement.
The US president's comments followed an announcement shortly before Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif, in which he suggested an exchange of prisoners involving Wang and Masud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist detained in the United States.
The three biologists, researcher Masoud Soleimani and two alumni, face accusations of violating trade sanctions on Iran when trying to export chemicals known as growth factors, which are commonly used in medical research.RELATED
I feel "glad that Professor Masud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang return soon with their families," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
"Many thanks to everyone involved, particularly the Swiss government," which deals with the interests of the United States in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran, added Zarif, who disseminated photos with Soleimani on a plane.
Relations between Iran and the United States have deteriorated greatly since May 2018, when President Trump decided that his country withdrew from the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program and again imposed sanctions on Tehran.