Iran confirms it arrested US Navy veteran 'a while ago'

Vakilabad prison in Mashhad

Vakilabad prison in Mashhad

AMMAN, Jordan-The Trump administration acknowledged that Iran has been imprisoning an American Navy member for the past six months, confirming recent press reports about the USA citizen who is believed to have been detained since July.

White's mother, Joanne, said that her son had been set to return from Iran via the United Arab Emirates on July 27, but never boarded his flight.

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

The family of U.S. Navy veteran Michael White of California told CBS News that the State Department had informed them that White was being held prisoner in Iran. She told The Times that State Department officials notified her in December that her son was being held in an Iranian prison. She said she filed a missing-person report after her son failed to return to work in California as planned in late July.

She said she is anxious about his health, because he has had cancer and suffers from asthma. He just got over cancer and I'm anxious about his condition.

A duty officer reached at the US State Department early Tuesday said the department's media team could not comment on the report due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.

She said she requested that Switzerland, which represents USA interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations, pay a consular visit to her son. Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time.

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She said her son had visited Iran "five or six times" to see his girlfriend. "I know he was visiting his girlfriend".

Word of White's detention comes amid an already tense relationship between the USA and Iran. The State Department advises Americans not to travel to Iran, "due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of USA citizens".

Siamak Namazi, and his father, Baquer Namazi, are Iranian-Americans who have been detained since October 2015 and February 2016, respectively.

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.

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

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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