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The appeal of U.S. citizen Xiyue Wang GS of a conviction and 10-year prison sentence for espionage was denied by Iranian authorities yesterday.

In a University press release, it was emphasized that Wang “was not involved in any political activities or connected to any government agencies; he was simply a scholar conducting historical research.”

A fourth-year graduate student, Wang has been detained in Iran since summer 2016. Now 37, Wang was in Iran as a doctoral candidate in the history department under Professor Stephen Kotkin, “studying Eurasian languages and regional governance practices across multiple Eurasian countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.” According to the University, Wang was also in Iran to study Farsi.

This development in Wang’s status comes as tensions between the U.S. and Iran remain anything but cordial. While the Trump administration agreed in July to re-certify that Iran is complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated under the Obama administration to control Iran’s nuclear program, President Donald Trump has repeatedly lambasted the deal.

The State Department has also issued a new travel warning for U.S. citizens on the risks of travel to Iran, highlighting both the lack of diplomatic relations between the two nations as well as reciprocal action from Iran in response to the President's embattled executive order on immigration from Muslim-majority countries, which includes Iran.

The warning notes that there is high “risk of arrest and detention for U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans.”

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