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An American graduate student imprisoned in Tehran since 2016 was released on Saturday in exchange for an Iranian stem cell researcher held in the U.S., the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Iran may have released American Xiyue Wang to distract from its recent wave of protests and the government's harsh response, the Times writes. The U.S. estimates around 1,000 Iranians died as a result of the mass clashes.

The state of play: Wang, a Princeton University graduate student, was conducting research when he was arrested in Iran for two espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Washington Post notes.

  • Masoud Soleimani was arrested in Chicago last year and convicted of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran, per the Post. He was expected to be released as soon as next month, regardless of the prisoner swap.

The big picture: At least five Americans are still being held in Iran as prisoners, but the exact number isn't known, per the Post.

What they're saying: Officials in Iran and the U.S. assert the two researchers are completely innocent and are collateral damage as tensions between the countries increase, the Post reports.

  • In a White House statement confirming the swap, President Trump said: "Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas."
“Our family is complete once again. Our son Shaofan and I have waited three long years for this day and it’s hard to express in words how excited we are to be reunited with Xiyue. We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen.”
— Hua Qu, Wang's wife, in a statement

Go deeper: Iranian government meets growing protests with harsher crackdown

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden briefing calls for 20,000 child migrant beds

President Biden, during a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

FBI director: Jan. 6 Capitol attack was domestic terrorism

The FBI views the Jan. 6 Capitol siege as an act of domestic terrorism, director Christopher Wray testified in his opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The FBI's designation of the attack as domestic terrorism puts the perpetrators "on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists," Wray said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan for Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) at a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.

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