National Press Club

Wife of Princeton graduate student calls for his release from Iranian prison

August 11, 2019 | By Pat Sherr |

On the third anniversary of a Princeton graduate student's imprisonment in Iran on Aug. 8, his wife, Hua Qu, called for action toward his release at a National Press Club Headliners Newsmaker event.

Xiyue Wang is being held in the infamous Evin Prison on charges of espionage. There, he shares cramped quarters with 25 other people.

As a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton, Wang went to Iran on a scholastic mission to study the ancient Eurasian culture, and learn the many languages of this part of the world.

The university has been tremendously supportive in seeking Wang’s release, Qua said, and she now lives there with their six year old son, Shaofan. He has dual citizenship and Hua remains Chinese. Xiyue Wang became an American Citizen in 2009, giving up his Chinese citizenship. He is neither a Moslem nor an Iranian.

At the end of her presentation, a reporter from The New York Times asked if the Trump Administration or the State Department was helping. Hua indicated that she pressures them continuously but there is no progress or dialogue at the moment. She speaks regularly to Robert O’Brien, the hostage negotiator, she said.

A reporter from National Public Radio asked about Chinese efforts. Qua says they contribute to the effort and she spent more than a month in China continuing her search for support.

The Swiss Embassy has asked to see Wang and report to the U.S., but the request has not been fulfilled, she said.

Hua will continue pressuring everywhere possible, she said.

Media coverage calls Wang and other detainees pawns in the Iran-U.S. relationship.The handouts at this meeting included recent articles from The Washington Post, The New Times Magazine and The South China Morning Post.