US warns of ‘serious consequences’ if Iran does not return Americans

Xiyue Wang (centre) was arrested in Iran last August while researching Persian history for his doctoral thesis at Princeton University. (Reuters)

United States President Donald Trump’s White House dialed up the pressure on Iran Friday, demanding the quick return of Americans detained in the Islamic Republic.

“President Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned,” the White House said in a statement.

The statement comes just days after a Chinese-American graduate student at Princeton was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for allegedly “infiltrating” the country and sending confidential material abroad is innocent of all charges against him.

Xiyue Wang’s arrest, which happened nearly a year ago, only came to light Sunday when Iran’s judiciary announced his sentence and the detention of President Hassan Rouhani’s brother in an unrelated case.

“Iran is responsible for the care and well-being of every United States citizen in its custody. President Trump urges Iran to return Robert Levinson home, who has been held for over 10 years, and demands Iran release Siamak and Baquer Namazi, who were taken during the Obama administration, along with all other American citizens unjustly detained by Iran,” a White House statement read.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49