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Iran: Detained American not held on security charges

February 24, 2019

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says an American detained last July is not being held on security-related charges.

Michael White, 46, was arrested after traveling to Iran to visit a woman he met online. His family says he was arbitrarily detained. Iranian officials say he was detained in connection with a private complaint.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Panahiazar told the semi-official ISNA news agency Saturday that “there is no security or espionage issue on the table.”

White is the first American to be detained in Iran since President Donald Trump took office. He worked as a cook in the U.S. Navy and left the service about a decade ago.

Iran has detained a number of dual citizens from Western countries on security charges, using them as leverage in negotiations.