Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Iran says it is holding US Navy veteran

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi
Jeannette Daniel | 10 January, 2019, 17:29

The US and Iran do not maintain diplomatic relations, and communications between the two nations are passed along by Swiss diplomats.

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

A US State Department representative said the department was "aware of reports of the detention of a US citizen in Iran", and that it has "no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas".

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

His mother, Joanne White, spoke to Euronews on Wednesday and said she had learned the news of her son's arrest three weeks ago through the US State Department.

Mr White, who has acute asthma and has been treated for a tumour in his neck, has been to Iran to see his girlfriend five or six times, she added.

Xiyue Wang, a China-born USA citizen and Princeton University graduate student, was detained in August 2016 while doing scholarly research and studying Farsi, the university said. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", a State Department official told the Times via email.

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He added, "Michael is kept among unsafe criminals including murderers and professional drug smugglers and his life is in danger". 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", she said, according to CBS News.

Sources told CBS News that Iran is holding the U.S. nationals to try to win concessions such as those received in a deal reached with former President Barack Obama.

Siamak Namazi, and his father, Baquer Namazi, are Iranian-Americans who have been detained since October 2015 and February 2016, respectively. "He just got over cancer and I'm anxious about his condition".

The first Iranian arrest of an American under the Trump administration has been confirmed by Iran, heightening already taut relations between the two countries.

Human rights behind bars symbol rendering concerning totalitarian systems.

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

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