Iran Confirms It's Holding U.S. Navy Veteran

Iran Confirms It's Holding U.S. Navy Veteran

The New York Times confirmed White's capture on Monday after speaking to his mother.

It is unclear when the United States was informed of White's arrest but his mother has told reporters that he went missing in July.

White's family said he suffers from acute asthma and shortly before his latest visit to Iran he underwent chemotherapy for a neck tumour. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", a State Department official told the Times via email.

"We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas".

She said her son had visited Iran "five or six times" to see an Iranian woman she described as his girlfriend.

That was according to a former detainee, Ivar Farhadi, who said Mr White's life was in danger because the jail contained unsafe inmates.

Farhadi said he couldn't discuss whether White had been tortured because they were being watched.

White is the fourth American being held by Iran, and while CBS News has learned that Iran floated the idea of a prisoner exchange a year ago, State Department officials will not say whether the Trump administration is willing to negotiate.

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

She said the State Department had not contacted her and she was unaware he was in prison until reached by CNN. "I couldn't talk about him in Iran because I am a former political prisoner and that could put my life in danger".

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

His arrest was first reported by an online news service by Iranian expatriates who interviewed a former Iranian prisoner who said he met White at Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in October.

"I'm very anxious about his health", she told CBS News, "He just got over cancer and I'm anxious about his condition".

Several US citizens have been held in Iran in recent years, with Mr Trump warning in 2017 that Tehran would face "new and serious consequences" unless all unjustly held American citizens were freed. "I promised to myself that if I got out of prison one of the first things that I would do would be to inform people about the situation of this American prisoner".

United Nations human rights experts said both father and son were detained arbitrarily.

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