Iran has arrested a US Navy veteran and is holding him hostage in one of their prisons. He’s apparently been there since October but Iran is only now confirming it:
AP – Iran confirmed Wednesday it is holding U.S. Navy veteran Michael R. White at a prison in the country, making him the first American known to be detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.
White’s detention adds new pressure to the rising tension between Iran and the U.S., which under Trump has pursued a maximalist campaign against Tehran that includes pulling out of its nuclear deal with world powers.
Although the circumstances of White’s detention remain unclear, Iran in the past has used its detention of Westerners and dual nationals as leverage in negotiations.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, reported the confirmation, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.
“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 incarceration, Ghasemi was quoted as saying.
The New York Times has quoted White’s mother saying she learned three weeks ago that her son is alive and being held at an Iranian prison. His arrest was first reported by IranWire, an online news service run by Iranian expatriates, which interviewed a former Iranian prisoner who said he met White at Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in October.
The Associated Press has been unable to reach members of White’s family. The State Department said it was aware of reports of an American citizen’s arrest, but was otherwise unable to comment.
White’s mother, Joanne White, had told the Times that her 46-year-old son, who lives in Imperial Beach, California, 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.
Maybe I’ve watched too much tv, but I wish just once we could airdrop a huge commando force of US military into whatever city they are holding our guy hostage and blast him the heck out of this prison. That’s the heroic rescue one of our military veterans deserves.
But alas, that would never happen and would likely be near impossible to mount a rescue like that in another country.
So I guess they get to torture White and use him as leverage over whatever demands they intend to get out of the Trump administration. So we either negotiate his release or let him stay in an Iranian prison. Ugh.