Iran confirms arrest of American citizen Michael White

Elias Hubbard
January 10, 2019

His arrest was first reported by an online news service by Iranian expatriates who interviewed a former Iranian prisoner who said he met White at Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in October.

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

"We are aware of reports of the detention of a USA citizen in Iran", a spokesperson for the State Department told NPR.

Iran's foreign ministry has not specified when he was arrested, or what he is accused of.

Iran's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that an American citizen had been arrested in the city of Mashhad, but denied reports he had been badly treated, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

She said she did not know what charges he faces, and that he had previously visited Iran "five or six times".

Iran has confirmed it is holding a US Navy veteran - a development likely to worsen relations between the two countries even further. She said she filed a missing person report after he failed to return to work in California in late July.

"I'm very anxious about his health", White's mother told CBS on Tuesday. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", a State Department official told the Times via email.

Siamak Namazi, another son of Baquer, is being held following a clandestine trial in which he was convicted of collaborating with a hostile state. "We have no higher priority than the safety and security of USA citizens overseas".

White is the fourth American known to be held by Iran, according to CBS News.

Iran has confirmed a USA media report that a U.S. military veteran was arrested previous year, but denied he had been badly treated.

Four Americans were arrested before Trump took office and are still being held captive in Iran.

Tensions have been high since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed crippling economic sanctions against Tehran previous year.

At least three other American citizens, two of whom are of Iranian descent, have been under arrest in Iran for years while another American has been missing for more than a decade.

United States officials have also pushed Iran for information about the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Central Intelligence Agency contractor who went missing in Iran in 2007.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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