Saturday, 19 January, 2019

USA military veteran held in Iran

American Navy veteran held in Iranian prison since July on unspecified charges: report U.S. Confirms: Iran Imprisoned U.S. Navy Vet for Past Six Months
Kenny Thornton | 10 January, 2019, 20:49

A U.S. Navy veteran has been held in an Iranian prison since July after visiting his girlfriend there, his family said, as they plead for Trump's help in his return home.

White's mother said her son visited the country "five or six times" to meet his girlfriend.

The NYT spoke with White's mother, Joanne White, who said the U.S. State Department had informed her that her son was being kept in Iran.

A US Navy veteran has been held in an Iranian prison since July after he flew there to visit his Iranian girlfriend, his mother told CNN on Tuesday.

IranWire had quoted a former Iranian prisoner as saying that while in prison, he had met White in a prison in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad.

She said she had not been contacted by the US State Department and was unaware he was in prison until being contacted by CNN.

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.

She is anxious about her 46-year-old son's health because he has had cancer and suffers from asthma, she said.

A State Department spokesperson said that they are "aware" of the New York Times report. "I just want to see him home safe and sound", Joanne White said by phone.

Iran Claims to be Holding US Navy Veteran
She said that her son had previously traveled to Iran to meet his girlfriend but that there was no problems, unlike the last time. Christine Levinson's husband, former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Bob Levinson, has been missing in Iran since 2007.

She said she requested that Switzerland, which represents U.S. interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations, pay a consular visit to her son.

The spokesperson said no further information could be provided for privacy reasons. "I know he was visiting his girlfriend".

Tensions between Iran and the USA have increased after the U.S. withdrew from a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic in May and reinstated sanctions against it.

"We are aware of reports of the detention of a USA citizen in Iran", a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon on background.

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". We have no higher priority than the safety and security of USA citizens overseas.

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.

In January 2016, Iran released four Americans as part of a prisoners swap, including Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, Saeed Abedini, a pastor from Idaho, and Amir Hekmati, a former Marine from Flint, Michigan.

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

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