Iran foreign minister distances himself from US citizen’s espionage sentencing, ‘doubts’ Syria used chemical weapons

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that his country has an entirely “independent judiciary” set in stone in its constitution, and deflected the notion that he or the government had much immediate authority in helping free the jailed Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang.

“But we hope an acceptable resolution can be found,” Zarif said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. “There are Iranians being detained (by the U.S.) on charges of sanction violations that are not applicable today… for bogus and purely political reasons.”

Wang, who was in Iran working on his Princeton University thesis on Eurasian history, was sentenced over the weekend to ten years behind bars for “spying,” in a trial that was held behind closed doors. 

Zarif also expressed his skepticism that the Syrian regime, led by embattled President Bashar al-Assad, had used chemical weapons in the country’s northwestern rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in April this year, despite certainty from U.S officials and other international bodies. 

“I have serious doubts… And no one has a red-line (on the use of chemical weapons more than Iran. When we were victims, nobody cared,” he said,…

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