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According to a report by the Guardian, the Princeton University identified the man as Chinese-born Xiyue Wang, an American citizen and graduate student in History. Wang was arrested in Iran last summer, while doing scholarly research in connection with his PhD dissertation, a university statement said.
In a video statement in Fars News, Iranian judicial spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejheie said that Wang was arrested and put on trial for "gathering information," and the sentence can be appealed.
According to the Iranian law, a convicted person has 20 days to appeal a sentence.
"The Iranian regime continues to detain U.S. citizens and other foreigners on fabricated national-security related changes. The safety and security of U.S. citizens remains a top priority. All U.S. citizens, especially dual nationals considering travel to Iran, should carefully read our latest travel warning," a press statement said.
Iran has accused several dual nationals, mostly with additional Iranian nationality, of spying.
In January 2016, Iran released an Iranian-American Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian, who had been imprisoned for 18 months on spying charges.
In October 2016, San Diego resident Reza "Robin" Shahini was sentenced to 18 years in prison for spying. The U.S.-Iranian citizen was visiting family in Gorgan, Iran. He was released on bail in April to await his appeal, The Center For Human Rights in Iran said.
Also in October 2016, Iran sentenced Iranian-Americans Baquer Namazi and his son Siamik to 10 years in prison and fined them $4.8 million for "collaborating with a foreign government," according to Iran's official news channel IRINN.
Four U.S. prisoners were released last year by Iran as part of a prisoner swap granting clemency to seven Iranians indicted or imprisoned in the United States.