USA veteran reportedly held prisoner in Iran for months

10 January, 2019, 20:46 | Author: Wade Massey
  • American Navy veteran Michael R. White 46 was detained in Iran after visiting his Iranian girlfriend whose identity remains unknown his mother said

The U.S. State Department would not confirm reports on Tuesday that another American has been detained in Iran.

Farhadi said White had not been charged with any crime in Iran, according to IranWire.

Michael White, 46, of California was arrested when he was visiting his Iranian girlfriend, his mother told The New York Times on January 7.

The New York Times reported 46-year-old Michael R. White was detained in Iran while visiting his Iranian girlfriend in July. It quoted a former Iranian prisoner who claimed to have met White at Vakilabad Prison.

Farhadi told Iran Wire that White had met an Iranian woman online and traveled to Iran several times to see her.

She said the State Department had not contacted her and she was unaware he was in prison until reached by CNN.

She said she is anxious about his health, because he has had cancer and suffers from asthma. According to the manager, White's wife was aware of the Iranian girlfriend and she said her husband would visit the woman in Iran about every six months for an unspecified period of time. He just got over cancer and I'm anxious about his condition.

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In the absence of relations, the Swiss Embassy represents United States diplomatic interests in Iran. Those strains have particularly increased since May, when the United States withdrew from a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic and reinstated sanctions against it.

"Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", the representative said.

"All I know is that he is alive and they were putting in a request for a consular visit by the Swiss". The State Department advises Americans not to travel to Iran, "due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of USA citizens".

Word of White's detention comes amid an already tense relationship between the US and Iran.

Iran is also holding at least three other prisoners: Siamak and Baquer Namazi, an Iranian-American father and son who were convicted in a closed-door trial after being arrested in February 2016, and Xiyue Wang, a grad student at Princeton who was arrested in August 2016. The Trump administration has not engaged in a dialogue with the Iranians to seek the current prisoners' release.

In January 2016, Iran freed four U.S. prisoners - Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedin, and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari - in exchange for the USA granting clemency to seven Iranians indicted or imprisoned in the United States.

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