U.S. Navy Vet Held in Iran Gets 10 Years, Lawyer Says

A United States Navy veteran held in Iran since July while visiting an Iranian girlfriend has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges which he insulted the country’s top leader along with posted a private photograph on social media, his family’s lawyer said Friday.

The lawyer, Mark Zaid, said the family had been informed earlier This specific week by the State Department of the sentencing of the veteran, Michael R. White, 46, of Imperial City, Calif.

The information was conveyed to the State Department by Swiss diplomats who represent American interests in Iran, Mr. Zaid said in a telephone interview. He said Mr. White, who has been incarcerated inside northeast city of Mashhad since his arrest eight months ago, has twice been granted Swiss consular visits.

Mr. White served inside Navy for 13 years along with will be the first American imprisoned in Iran since President Trump took office more than two years ago.

The arrest has thrust a brand new irritant into what has become an increasingly confrontational relationship between the Trump administration along with Iran.

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Michael R. White, an American Navy veteran, in an undated photograph.Creditvia Joanne White

Mr. Zaid said Mr. White had been given two hearings in an Iranian court, on March 6 along with March 9, along with was sentenced to two years for insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s top leader, along with 10 years for the posting of a private photo. He said which appeared which the sentences were to run concurrently.

Iranian officials have not explained further details of the two charges. Nor has Mr. White been permitted direct communication with his family, Mr. Zaid said.

Mr. White’s family has said he traveled to Iran that has a valid visa along with his sole purpose was to visit a woman with whom he had fallen in love. Precisely how they met, along with additional details about the woman, have not been disclosed.

Mr. White’s mother, Joanne White, has repeatedly said she fears her son will be in failing health along with may have suffered a cancer recurrence while in Iran.

At least three some other Americans have been imprisoned by Iran — Siamak Namazi, since October 2015; Baquer Namazi, since February 2016; along with Xiyue Wang, since August 2016. All are accused of spying along with sedition-related activities, which they have denied. Another American, Robert A. Levinson, has been missing in Iran since 2007.

Their families inside United States, increasingly bitter about the apparent inability of American officials to secure their Discharge, attended a congressional hearing last week to voice their grievances along with urge the government to do more, including establishing a dialogue with Iran.

“After three very different presidential administrations, we are no closer to bringing Bob home than when we commenced,” Christine Levinson, Mr. Levinson’s wife, said during her testimony. “We have nothing.”