Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers were prepared by electrospinning and they were modified with hydroxylamine to synthesize amidoxime polyacrylonitrile (AOPAN) chelating nanofibers, which were applied to adsorb copper and iron ions. The conversion of the nitrile group in PAN was calculated by the gravimetric method. The structure and surface morphology of the AOPAN nanofiber were characterized by a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FT-IR) and a scanning electron microscope (SEM), respectively. The adsorption abilities of Cu2+ and Fe3+ ions onto the AOPAN nanofiber mats were evaluated. FT-IR spectra showed nitrile groups in the PAN were partly converted into amidoxime groups. SEM examination demonstrated that there were no serious cracks or sign of degradation on the surface of the PAN nanofibers after chemical modification. The adsorption capacities of both copper and iron ions onto the AOPAN nanofiber mats were higher than those into the raw PAN nanofiber mats. The adsorption data of Cu2+ and Fe3+ ions fitted particularly well with the Langmuir isotherm. The maximal adsorption capacities of Cu2+ and Fe3+ ions were 215.18 and 221.37 mg/g, respectively.