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Iran's Seizure of Dual Citizens and Foreign Nationals


Xiyue Wang, a naturalized American citizen from China, arrested in Iran last August while researching Persian history for his doctoral thesis at Princeton University, is shown with his wife and son in this family photo released in Princeton, New Jersey, U

In their most recent reports on human rights conditions in Iran, both the U.S. State Department and UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir pointed to the continuing pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention of dual citizens and foreign nationals by the Iranian government.

In their most recent reports on human rights conditions in Iran, both the U.S. State Department and UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir pointed to the continuing pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention of dual citizens and foreign nationals by the Iranian government.

Earlier this month, Iranian state television highlighted this dubious and cruel practice by broadcasting videos of detained American graduate student Xiyue Wang, who was in Iran conducting research for his dissertation on Iran’s Qajar dynasty, and British Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who had been visiting family with her baby daughter. Both Wang and Zaghari-Ratcliffe were charged with spying and given long prison sentences.

In a press conference following the presentation of her latest human rights report on Iran, Special Rapporteur Jahangir noted that the “easy” charges of espionage levelled at dual citizens and others by the Iranian government are “a little far-fetched.” The great problem, she says, is that the defendants were not given a fair trial:

“They did not get due process in courts, and the manner in which it is done is not justice, but revenge.”

In a statement published in July, the White House condemned nations “that continue to take hostages and detain our citizens without just cause or due process.”

It is time the Iranian government stops doing what the White House noted it has been doing for nearly forty years: “Iran has used detentions and hostage taking as a tool of state policy.” President Donald Trump, the White House warned, “is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned.”

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