A Chinese-American detained in Iran in 2016 and later charged for spying will soon be united with his family while an imprisoned Iranian will be released by Washington in return, Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday.
"Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly. Many thanks to all engaged, particularly the Swiss government," Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
Switzerland represents US diplomatic interests in Iran, since the two arch foes cut diplomatic ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
US President Donald Trump confirmed Wang’s release in an official statement. He also thanked Switzerland for their assistance with negotiations.
“Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas.”
Wang's wife also confirmed her husband had been released, according to Reuters.
Xiyue Wang, a US citizen and Princeton University graduate student, was conducting dissertation research in Iran in 2016 when he was detained and accused by Iran of "spying under the cover of research," an allegation his family and the university deny.
He was subsequently convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017.
Soleimani, a stem cell expert, was arrested at Chicago airport in October 2018 for allegedly attempting to export biological materials to Iran in violation of US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.