Iran releases USA student in exchange for its scientist

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Zarif in September said in an interview with NPR that he had pushed for an exchange of Wang for Soleimani.

He said Japan is an economic partner and provider of technology to Iran, which has always been one of Japan's major oil suppliers. "See, we can make a deal together!"

The White House and Zarif both thanked the Swiss government for helping in the negotiations.

Massoud Soleimani, a stem cell expert, was arrested at a Chicago airport past year.

Soleimani, a stem cell expert, was arrested in the U.S.in 2018 for allegedly violating USA sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on Twitter early Saturday ahead of the swap, and again after it was confirmed.

It remains unclear whether this exchange will have a wider effect on Iranian-U.S. relations.

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The senior U.S. administration official said Soleimani had been due to appear in court in the United States on December 11 but the charges against him had been dropped.

The New York Times first reported the details of the Zurich arrival.

Wang was released Saturday in exchange for Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani, who had been arrested by USA authorities on charges that he violated sanctions against Tehran. The U.S.re-imposed sanctions that block Iran from selling its crude oil overseas, following President Trump's decision to withdraw from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Trump said that freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to his administration. Wang's wife, Hua Qu, and his young son, Shaofan, are Chinese citizens.

Wang's wife, Hua Qu of Princeton, had fought for years for her husband's release.

"See, we can make a deal", said the USA president.

The White House issued a statement following Wang's release, which praised the negotiated outcome.

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What were the men accused of?

He traveled to Iran in 2016 to study Persian and conduct research for his dissertation. The US "arrested a university professor with 500 scientific articles without any reason" after it invited him and gave him a visa "to do research at the highest US scientific institute".

Iran's president said on Sunday his country will depend less on oil revenue next year, in a new budget that is created to resist crippling USA trade embargoes.

The demonstrations and the crackdown reportedly killed at least 208 people, though Iran has refused to release nationwide statistics over the unrest.

US-Iran tensions have risen significantly in the last two years.

The captive exchange marks a positive step in relations between the USA and Iran, which have deteriorated since Trump pulled the US out of the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement and increased sanctions against the country.

Mr Trump also reinstated sanctions on Iran, which have led to its currency plummeting and inflation soaring.

US authorities arrested Soleimani over trade sanction violations, according to The Associated Press.

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