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techkenyot.com January 19, 2019


Tehran Confirms Reports of US Citizen's Arrest in Iran

10 January 2019, 05:28 | Glen Norman

Iran holding jailed Americans for leverage, sources say

U.S. Navy veteran Michael R. White has been held in Iran for more than six months his family said

Iran confirmed on Wednesday it had arrested an American, confirming U.S. media reports about a case that risks further worsening relations with Washington.

White is the fourth American being held by Iran, and while CBS News has learned that Iran floated the idea of a prisoner exchange a year ago, State Department officials will not say whether the Trump administration is willing to negotiate.

A Department of State spokesperson told the BBC: "We are aware of reports of the detention of a U.S. citizen in Iran".

Michael White is one of several U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals held in Iran.

White's family said he suffers from acute asthma and shortly before his latest visit to Iran he underwent chemotherapy for a neck tumour.

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On January 9, Iranian state news agency IRNA carried a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi that confirmed the arrest, but did not specify when it had happened or what crime he was accused of.

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

"The case of this person is being handled by the relevant authorities and at the conclusion of this process they will issue the necessary information", Ghasemi was further quoted as saying on his Telegram account.

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

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

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"I'm very anxious about his health", she told CBS News, "He just got over cancer and I'm anxious about his condition".

Sources tell CBS News that Iran is holding the Americans to try and extract concessions such as those received in a deal reached with President Obama.

New details are emerging about an American Navy veteran being held captive in Iran.

Speaking about the relations between countries, Iran leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called USA officials "first-class idiots" Wednesday.

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.

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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 a year ago.



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