An Imperial Beach Navy veteran is being held in an Iranian prison, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing a semi-official Iranian news agency.
Michael R. White, 46, traveled to Iran to see his girlfriend and was supposed to return July 27 but never made his flight, his mother Joana White told the New York Times.
When the former Navy man didn’t return, Joana White filed a missing person report and she’d only learned of his incarceration three weeks ago, according to the Times.
“An American citizen was arrested in the city of Mashhad some time ago and his case was conveyed to the U.S administration on the first days” of his arrest, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told the Tasnim news agency.
The U.S. State Department is aware of the arrest but did not comment, according to the Associated Press.
U.S.-Iran relations, which was warming under President Barrack Obama, have soured under President Donald Trump. It was unclear why White is in custody. Iran, in the past, has used American prisoners as leverage in negotiations.
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