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US citizen Michael White arrested in Iran, confirming earlier reports

US citizen Michael White arrested in Iran, confirming earlier reports”

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.

White's imprisonment could further worsen relations between Washington and Tehran, longtime foes.

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

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

According to his family, California native White had traveled to Iran three times to visit an Iranian woman believed to be his girlfriend.

"An American citizen named Michael White was arrested in the city of Mashhad a while ago and the US Interests Section in Tehran was informed in the first days" since his arrest, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters Wednesday. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time".

Switzerland represents US diplomatic interests in the country, as ties between the USA and Iran were cut after Tehran held American diplomats hostage.

"I'm very anxious about his health", she said, according to CBS News.

CNN also cited Michael White's wife Lupe White as saying that the last time she saw his husband was on July 9, and on July 10, he sent her a message in which he wrote that he was on a business trip that would last for two weeks.

Mr Qassemi said Iran had informed the USA government about Mr White's arrest within days of when he was taken into custody and denied that he had been poorly treated. She filed a missing-person report and had been communicating with the State Department and Department of Homeland Security.

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

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. White at Iran's Vakilabad Prison in the city of Mashhad.

At least five Americans have been sentenced to prison in Iran on espionage-related charges.

He also re-imposed sanctions previous year that damaged Iran's economy.

The prisoner issue has long added to the tensions between Iran and the United States.

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.



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