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Former US Navy Veteran Tried in Iran on Security Charges

Former US Navy Veteran Tried in Iran on Security Charges

Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 - 09:00
Michael White, a US Navy veteran. Photo: Twitter
Tehran- Asharq Al-Awsat
Mashhad prosecutor said Monday that the verdict in the case of former US Navy veteran, who was arrested in the summer of 2018, has been issued.

He didn’t reveal the verdict and only said the convict had been indicted on security charges as well as a complaint filed by an individual.

Gholamali Sadeghi, the Mashhad prosecutor, told ISNA news agency on Monday that “a verdict for this case has been issued,” adding that he faced unspecified security charges, AFP reported.

Sadeghi's remarks contradict a February statement by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Panahi-Azar, who said the convict faces no security or espionage charges.

Micheal White, 46, a former US Navy Veteran from California, was arrested in July 2018 in Iran, when he was paying a visit to his girlfriend, according to remarks by his mother to the New York Times.

Iran announced the arrest of the US citizen after few months, and on January 9, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi confirmed his arrest and denied him being ill-treated.

“The US government has been informed of this arrest through its Interests Office in Tehran,” Qasimi stressed, denying "wrong" US media information about abusing White.

US lawmakers began working last week to legislate a new law that puts pressure on Iran to release US detainees.

White is the first American known to be detained since Donald Trump became president. Trump has pursued a maximalist campaign against Tehran that includes US withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Joan White, Michael's mother, also revealed to the US newspaper that her son had visited Iran “five or six times” to meet his Iranian girlfriend.

She had asked Switzerland, which represents US interests in Iran, to visit the consulate to where her son was being held.

There are at least three other US citizens detained in Iran, two of them are Iranians.

US-Iranian relations deteriorated sharply last year after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program and again imposed sanctions on Iran.

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