Iran Confirms Arrest Of U.S. Navy Veteran Reportedly Jailed Since July

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi

Michael White, 46, was arrested in July while visiting his Iranian girlfriend and is being held on unspecified charges, the New York Times reported earlier this week.

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

Michael White is one of several United States citizens and other foreign nationals held in Iran.

Joanne White told the New York Times her son, a California resident, suffers acute asthma and had had chemotherapy and radiation treatment for a neck tumour.

The Tasnim news agency reported the confirmation Wednesday night, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

According to Farhadi, White said he became acquainted with an Iranian girl online and traveled to Iran three times to visit her.

Reports that Mr White had been poorly treated were denied by Mr Qassemi. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time".

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

Sources tell CBS News that Iran is holding the Americans to try and extract concessions such as those received in a deal reached with President Obama.

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Xiyue Wang, a China-born U.S. citizen and Princeton University graduate student, was detained in August 2016 while doing scholarly research and studying Farsi, the university said.

White is the fourth American known to be held by Iran, according to CBS News.

The network reported that it learned that Iran suggested a possible prisoner exchange a year ago, but State Department officials will not say whether the Trump administration is willing to negotiate.

In July 2017, Iran said that it had detained Chinese-American, Xiyue Wang, a Princeton graduate student who was conducting research in Iran.

The prisoner issue has long added to the tensions between Iran and the United States.

President Donald Trump withdrew from an global agreement Iran's nuclear programme and re-imposed sanctions a year ago that hit the Iranian economy hard.

The first Iranian arrest of an American under the Trump administration has been confirmed by Iran, heightening already taut relations between the two countries.

Another US man has been missing in Iran for over a decade.

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