Xiyue Wang and his family

Princeton continues to support graduate student imprisoned in Iran

Princeton graduate student Xiyue Wang, shown here with his wife and their young son before he was detained in Iran in 2016.

Princeton University issued the following statement Thursday, Aug. 17, regarding Xiyue Wang, a Princeton graduate student conducting dissertation research in Iran who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after having been accused of espionage.

Iranian authorities have denied Xiyue Wang's appeal of his conviction and 10-year prison sentence for espionage that he did not attempt or commit. We are distressed that his appeal was denied, and that he remains unjustly imprisoned.

Mr. Wang has already been kept apart from his wife and four-year-old son for more than a year. The University continues to hope that the Iranian authorities will allow this genuine scholar, devoted husband, and caring father to return to his doctoral studies and his family. We will continue to do everything we can to be supportive of Mr. Wang and his family, and of efforts to seek his safe return home.

Mr. Wang was not involved in any political activities or connected to any government agencies; he was simply a scholar conducting historical research. He went to Iran as a doctoral candidate in our Department of History, studying Eurasian languages and regional governance practices across multiple Eurasian countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In connection with his doctoral research he traveled to Iran solely to study Farsi and to examine historical documents from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He described his research plans in advance to the Iranian authorities and the libraries and archives he planned to visit, and he only sought access to materials that he needed for his dissertation.

The University also issued on Thursday, Aug. 17, a statement from Mr. Wang's wife, Hua Qu, at her request.

The University has compiled a list of answers to commonly asked questions on the Xiyue Wang case.

The University issued a statement July 16 after the Iranian judiciary announced Mr. Wang's conviction and sentencing. The University issued an updated statement on Nov. 27.

The University posted a story July 28 based on an interview in which Hua Qu discussed her husband's upbringing, scholarly work and their family. A version of the story in Chinese is also available.

The American Council on Education and 31 other higher education and research associations have issued a statement urging Mr. Wang’s return home and more than 1,400 researchers from 37 countries have signed a petition also calling for his safe return​​​​​​.


A Chinese translation is provided below.




2017年8月17日, 下午3点43分











  1. 本校于八月十七日(星期四)所发布的王夕越先生妻子曲桦的个人声明链接
  2. 本校为王夕越一案所编纂的常见问答列表链接
  3. 本校于七月十六日伊朗当局宣布对王夕越定罪并判刑后发布的声明链接
  4. 本校于七月二十八日发表的一篇报道,其中有王夕越妻子曲桦接受采访,谈及王夕越的个人成长、学术经历及其家庭情况。链接

5. 美国教育理事会(American Council on Education)及其他31家高等教育及研究机构就本案发表声明,呼吁促成王夕越早日归国。链接

  1. 来自25个国家的千余名学术科研人员签名情愿,呼吁王夕越安全归国。链接