Family seeks return of Navy veteran detained in Iran


SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S. Navy veteran has been held in an Iranian prison since July after visiting his girlfriend there, according to his family.

The New York Times reported Monday that Michael R. White’s mother learned three weeks ago that her son is alive and being held at an Iranian prison. His arrest was first reported by an online news service by Iranian ex-patriots who interviewed a former Iranian prisoner who said he met White at Vakilabad Prison in the city of Mashhad in October.

His mother, Joanne White, told the newspaper the 46-year-old veteran went to Iran to see his girlfriend and had booked a July 27 flight back home to San Diego via the United Arab Emirates. She filed a missing person report with the State Department after he did not board the flight. She added that he had been undergoing treatment for a neck tumor and has asthma.

The State Department confirmed an American was detained but did not provide details.

It’s unclear what prompted Iranian authorities to detain White, though Iran in the past has used prisoners with Western ties as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Hollywood Star's Wife Played Key Role in International Criminal Court's Arrest Warrant for Israeli Leaders

Iran’s United Nations mission in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Joanne White told the newspaper she does not know whether any charges have been filed against him or why he was detained. She said her son had visited Iran “five or six times” to see his girlfriend. It’s unclear how they met.

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 nearly 40 years ago after the hostage crisis.

At least three other U.S. citizens have been incarcerated in Iran for years. Two of them are Iranian-Americans.

The detention comes amid growing tensions between the Trump administration and Iran since the United States pulled out of the nuclear accord with Iran last May and re-imposed sanctions. The last time Iran released U.S. citizens from its prisons was when the nuclear agreement took effect in January 2016.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City