Lawyer: US Navy Veteran Held in Iran Sentenced to 10 Years

Lawyer: US Navy Veteran Held in Iran Sentenced to 10 Years

An Iranian court has sentenced an American to 10 years in prison for insulting the country's supreme leader and posting a private picture, his lawyer confirmed on Saturday.

White, 46, a native of San Diego, was arrested last July in Mashhad, Iran during his third visit with the woman.

In the time since, White has been convicted of insulting Iran's supreme leader and posting private information online, Zaid said.

Trump has pursued a maximalist campaign against Tehran that includes America's withdrawal from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers.

The State Department was informed of the sentencing by Swiss diplomats who represent USA interests in Iran, according to Zaid, who said White has not been allowed to communicate directly with his family. Iran has in the past detained Westerners and dual nationals to use them as leverage in negotiations.

The State Department has not commented on the sentence.

The two sentences - handed out in separate hearings on March 6 and March 9 - will apparently be served concurrently.

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White is the first USA citizen to be detained during Donald Trump's presidency.

There are three other Americans known to be held in Iran. "It's unclear at this time whether Michael is simply an unfortunate foreigner caught in a very different legal system or being used as a political pawn".

Three other U.S. citizens are known to be imprisoned in Iran, including Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his octogenarian father Baquer, a former UNICEF representative who served as governor of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan.

Graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly "infiltrating" the country while doing doctoral research on Iran's Qajar dynasty.

The last time Iran released any imprisoned Americans was when the worldwide accord on Iran's nuclear programme took effect in January 2016. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage-related charges.

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized Central Intelligence Agency mission, remains missing.

Jonathan Franks, a White family spokesman, said the family had been told that White has been beaten and interrogated about his naval service and Iranian officials have refused to let him contact family.

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