NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after Princeton University graduate student Xiyue Wang was released from Iran. A doctoral student at Princeton University in New Jersey, Wang was convicted of bogus espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“I sincerely welcome the news of Princeton University student Xiyue Wang’s release from Iran and wish him and his family a heartfelt reunion they desperately deserve. I commend the work of all those involved in securing his release and thank our Swiss partners for their facilitation and others for their efforts over the years.
“Iranian authorities arrested Xiyue Wang in 2016 and later charged him with completely fabricated and politicized accusations. Mr. Wang, an American citizen, was conducting scholarly research for his doctorate at Princeton. For more than three years Iranian authorities have let him languish and kept his family, including his wife and young son, in anguish over his well-being and eventual return.
“My office has been engaged with numerous actors over the years in support of Wang and other political hostages. Earlier this year, I introduced the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery Act to give the United States more tools to help pressure governments to release political prisoners and hostages.
“Tragically, Iran continues to pursue unjust, political detentions of its own citizens, Americans, and other foreigners. While we celebrate the release of Mr. Wang we cannot forget Robert Levinson, Michael White, and Baquer and Siamak Namazi and others unjustly detained.”
Senator Menendez has been a champion in Congress for the Government of Iran to release unjustly detained United States citizens and legal permanent residents. A leading voice in Congress to make clear to Iran that our nation will not stand idly by as they take Americans hostage, Menendez has written letters to push Iran to free Americans, and introduced the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-taking Accountability Act to bolster programs to address hostage-taking, and give the United States government new tools to rescue hostages and punish their captors.