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Michael White, 46, is being held in July and is the first known American to have been detained in Iran since Donald Trump became president. His family said he had gone to Iran to visit his girlfriend who had met online and was arbitrarily detained. He did not confirm the reports that the man is facing security charges. Under Iranian law, a private appeal will concern claims made by a citizen rather than by the state.
Trump runs a maximalist campaign against Tehran, which includes a withdrawal from his nuclear deal with world powers. Iran in the past has detained Westerners and double citizens to use them as a lever in negotiations
Joan White, the detainee's mother, made a statement earlier this month, calling on the Trump administration to secure his release. She said she was being treated with cancer and she was afraid she would not survive prolonged detention. Michael White worked as a chef for the fleet and left the service about ten years ago, according to a family spokesman who insisted that White was not a spy, and he never was. The spokesman, Jonathan Franks, said that White had recently worked as a janitor.
There are at least four other famous American citizens in Iran. both are serving 10-year sentences on charges of espionage. Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and Iranian wife Afarin Neyssari received 27-year and 16-year sentences respectively. Chinese-American aspirant Xiu Wan was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly "penetrating" the country during doctoral studies of the Kajar Iranian dynasty. to 18 years in prison for "co-operating with a hostile government." It is believed that Shahhini is still in Iran.
Also in Iranian prison is Nazar Zayka, a permanent resident of the United States of Lebanon who advocates freedom of the Internet and has done work for the US government. He was sentenced to 10 years for charges of espionage.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinans, who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while in an unauthorized CIA mission, has also disappeared. Iran says Lewson is not in the country and no more information about him, but his family is holding Tehran responsible for his disappearance.