Sunday, 20 January, 2019


American Navy veteran held in Iranian prison since July on unspecified charges

Vakilabad prison in Mashhad Vakilabad prison in Mashhad
Bennie Garza | 10 January, 2019, 20:46

Washington: A United States military veteran is being held in Iran where he was visiting his girlfriend, a report said Tuesday, posing a fresh issue in the two countries´ thorny relations.

White's mother told the New York Times that he had already traveled to Iran to visit this girlfriend "five or six times", although she did not say how the two met.

Michael White, 46, was arrested in July while he was visiting his Iranian girlfriend, his mother Joanne White told The New York Times on Monday. The site quoted a former Iranian prisoner, identified as Ivar Farhadi, who said he met White in October when they were both held at the same prison in the city of Mashad. "It's very scary to me", she told CBS News on Tuesday.

She said that she learned from the State Department that he was imprisoned in Iran on unclear charges.

White's mother, Joanne White, confirmed to CBS News that her son never made his scheduled return flight at the end of July, at which point the family reported him missing.

"I'm very anxious about his health".

CNN also has sought comment from the governments of Iran and Switzerland, which represents the United States' diplomatic interests in Iran. He just got over cancer and I'm anxious about his condition.

A State Department official told Fox News that they are aware of the reports of USA citizens in Iranian detention. Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time. "I know he was visiting his girlfriend".

Michael White's wife, Lupe White, said she last saw her husband July 9 and he texted her a day later saying he was on a business trip for two weeks. The State Department advises Americans not to travel to Iran, "due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens".

Iran is now holding at least three other USA citizens, including Siamak and Baquer Namazi, and Princeton professor Xiyue Wang, in prison. 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.

Iran has released Americans and other foreign nationals in recent years.

Washington has repeatedly called on Tehran to release American detainees, including Iranian-Americans Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi, Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, and Lebanese U.S. permanent resident Nizar Zakka.

The last time Iran released US citizens from its prisons was when the nuclear agreement took effect in January 2016.

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