A Chinese American accused of “infiltration” in Iran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, local media reported on Sunday.
The man was identified as Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old researcher at Princeton University, according to Mizanonline, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary.
Wang, who was born in Beijing according to the report, was arrested on August 8, 2016 while trying to leave the country.
Mizanonline said he was part of “an infiltration project” aimed at gathering “highly confidential articles” for several US and British institutions, including Princeton, the US State Department, Harvard’s Kennedy School and the British Institute for Persian Studies.
“Before his arrest he was able to digitally archive 4,500 pages of the country’s documents, while under covert surveillance,” said Mizanonline.
The confidential documents were said to be taken from “research and cultural archives” and “the libraries of some state organisations”.
Mizanonline published an excerpt from a British Institute of Persian Studies annual report, in which Wang thanked its librarian for helping him make contact with academics in Iran.
The report claimed this as “proof” Wang was on a covert mission, although the quote shows Wang was openly trying to work with academics to access a number of official archives in Tehran and Mashhad.
Deputy judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie had earlier announced the sentencing of an American citizen without giving his name or second nationality.