US Says Aware of Reports of Iran's Detention of American Citizen

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.

He was visiting an Iranian girlfriend as was due to fly out on July 27, but he never boarded his flight.

White's mother told the New York Times that he had already traveled to Iran to visit this girlfriend "five or six times", although she did not say how the two met.

A U.S. Navy Veteran has been in Iranian prison since July on unspecified charges, according the New York Times.

Iran Wire's report was based on an interview with a former Iranian prisoner who was quoted as saying he had met White at Vakilabad Prison in the city of Mashhad in October.

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, his mother, Joanne White, declined to discuss why her son was being held.

White's mother, Joanne White, told the Times that she had filed a missing-person report and had been in touch with the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security.

She is anxious about her 46-year-old son's health because he has had cancer and suffers from asthma, she said.

After an Iranian news agency overseas reported that another American has been incarcerated in Iran, the New York Times confirmed the news by speaking to his Family.

CNN also has sought comment from the governments of Iran and Switzerland, which represents the United States' diplomatic interests in Iran. "I just want to see him home safe and sound", Joanne White said by phone.

We have no higher priority than the safety and security of USA citizens overseas.

"All I know is that he is alive and they were putting in a request for a consular visit by the Swiss".

The spokesperson said no further information could be provided for privacy reasons.

Baquer Namazi, a retired UNICEF official, and his son Siamak, an Iranian-American businessman, were sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison for spying and cooperating with the US government. Two of them are Iranian-Americans.

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

At least three other US citizens have been incarcerated in Iran for years.

The last time Iran released USA citizens from its prisons was when the nuclear agreement took effect in January 2016.

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