Iran's foreign ministry confirms arrest of former United States sailor

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran Iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran Iran

Ghasemi said the U.S. government, through the Swiss embassy in Tehran, was informed of the arrest during the early days of the incident.

She told the New York Times that her son had been set to return from Iran via Dubai on July 27 but had never boarded his flight.

The US State Department said Tuesday it was "aware of reports" of his detention, but declined to release details, citing privacy considerations.

The New York Times reported on Monday that White, a 46-year-old former U.S. sailor, was arrested while visiting Iran and had been held since July on unspecified charges.

White's family said he suffers from acute asthma and shortly before his latest visit to Iran he underwent chemotherapy for a neck tumour.

"An American Citizen, named Michael White was arrested a while ago in the city of Mashhad", the spokesperson for Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. He met her online about four or five years ago, and he had visited her four times over the last few years, Joanne White said.

Iran has confirmed it is holding a US Navy veteran - a development likely to worsen relations between the two countries even further.

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

He added, "Michael is kept among risky criminals including murderers and professional drug smugglers and his life is in danger".

In another report on Tuesday, CBS News claimed the 46-year-old had been in detention since last summer and "was suffering psychologically and was being held in a ward with unsafe criminals". She filed a missing-person report and had been communicating with the 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.

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

Christine Levinson's husband, former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Bob Levinson, has been missing in Iran since 2007.

"I didn't do what Obama did, give them $1.8 billion in cash to get back four hostages", Mr. Trump said in a United Nations address last September.

Human rights behind bars symbol rendering concerning totalitarian systems.

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