Published: Thu, January 10, 2019

US says aware of reports of Iran's detention of US citizen

US says aware of reports of Iran's detention of US citizen

The US State Department said on Tuesday it was aware of reports of the detention of a US citizen held in Iran for more than six months, amid heightened tensions between the countries following the reimposition of US sanctions. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

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. 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.

State Department officials told her three weeks ago that he was in an Iranian prison, she told The Times.

He was visiting a woman whom he said was his girlfriend, she said.

She added that he had been undergoing treatment for a neck tumor and has asthma.

The State Department told his mother they had put in a request for a consular visit by the Swiss embassy, which represents the interests of the United States in Iran since diplomatic relations were severed almost 40 years ago after the hostage crisis.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply a year ago when US President Donald Trump withdrew from an worldwide accord on ending Iran´s nuclear program and imposed sweeping sanctions.

The manager claimed White's wife told her he was in Iran to visit his girlfriend when he was detained.

Washington: A USA 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.

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. U.S. officials believe Levinson, who suffered from diabetes, died in captivity after meeting with an American-born Islamic militant.

USA 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. Iran has denied having anything to do with his disappearance and said it doesn't know where he is.

In December, six families of foreign or dual nationals held or believed to have disappeared in Iran - including the families of the Namazis and Levinson - issued an open letter alleging their relatives were political hostages detained without due process.

The first reports of another American being held in Iran came from the IranWire news website, which is run by Iranian nationals living outside the country.

In January 2016, Iran freed four U.S. prisoners - Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari - in exchange for the USA granting clemency to seven Iranians indicted or imprisoned in the United States.

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