TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Prominent Iranian stem cell scientist professor Masoud Soleimani has been released after over one year being in jail in the US as part of a prisoner swap deal between Tehran and Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced 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,” Zarif tweeted on Saturday.
On October 25, 2018, an airplane carrying Soleimani heading to the United States on a research mission touched down at a Chicago airport. The 49-year-old Iranian professor and biomedical researcher at Tehran’s Tarbiat Modares University, who was traveling to the US with a visa issued upon an invitation by a US research center, was detained by the FBI upon arrival. The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota had invited Soleimani to lead a research program on the treatment of stroke patients.
Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-American graduate student, was arrested in Iran three years ago for spying on the country while doing doctoral research. He later was sentenced to 10 years.
In April, Zarif publicly expressed Tehran’s preparedness for a prisoner swap with the US.
He called on Washington to swap all Iranians jailed in the US and on extradition requests from the US, mostly for alleged violations of US export restrictions and sanctions violations, with those imprisoned in Iran.