Monday, 14 October, 2019

Iran says it holds US Navy veteran, 1st arrest of Trump era

Ghasemi said the US government has been informed of the arrest during the early days of the incident Ghasemi said the US government has been informed of the arrest during the early days of the incident
Patty Aguilar | 10 January, 2019, 17:31

The New York Times has quoted White's mother saying she learned three weeks ago that he is alive and being held at an Iranian prison.

Ghasemi said White has not been abused or mistreated, calling the former prisoner's allegations "psychological warfare", according to the AP.

He had booked a return flight to San Diego for 27 July, she said.

White's mother, Joanne, told the New York Times her son had visited Iran "five or six times" to meet his Iranian girlfriend.

"Michael White was arrested in the city of Mashhad a while ago, and within a few days after his arrest the USA government was informed of the arrest through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran", ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.

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

"I'm very anxious about his health", she said, according to CBS News.

She and her husband, who have been married for nearly 15 years, have discussed divorce, she said, but she was hoping they had strengthened their relationship in the past six months as she helped him through chemotherapy.

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Iran has not yet made public the arrest of White and no specific charges have been made clear. "We have no higher priority than the safety and security of USA citizens overseas".

His family say he suffers from acute asthma and shortly before his latest visit he underwent chemotherapy for a neck tumour.

Siamak Namazi, another son of Baquer, is being held following a clandestine trial in which he was convicted of collaborating with a hostile state. The son was held while visiting relatives in Tehran; both were sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison for what the Iranian government said was "cooperating with Iran's enemies", which usually implies cooperating with the United States. While the Trump administration offered to discuss prisoners past year, a senior administrative official said Iran turned that offer down, leaving the fate of the Americans unclear.

The prisoner issue has long added to the tensions between Iran and the United States.

Another US man has been missing in Iran for over a decade.

At least four USA citizens and one US permanent resident are now being held by Iran.

President Donald Trump withdrew from an worldwide agreement Iran's nuclear programme and re-imposed sanctions previous year that hit the Iranian economy hard.

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