Thank you, President Trump. White’s release was part of an agreement involving an Iranian-American doctor prosecuted by the Justice Department, and followed months of quiet negotiations over prisoners.
Iran frees US Navy veteran Michael White after two years in custody
- White is on his way home as part of a deal to free an Iranian-American doctor who was prosecuted in the US
- ‘I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely in American custody,’ his mother says
The US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, flew to Zurich with a doctor to meet freed detainee Michael White and will accompany White to the United States aboard an American plane, the officials said.
White’s release was part of an agreement involving an Iranian-American doctor prosecuted by the Justice Department, and followed months of quiet negotiations over prisoners. The two countries are at bitter odds over US penalties imposed after President
“I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely in American custody and on his way home,” White’s mother, Joanne White, said in a statement. She thanked the State Department and Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and one-time New Mexico governor, for raising her son’s case with the Iranians.
White “is on a Swiss plane that just left Iranian Airspace. We expect him to be home with his family in America very soon,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Richardson, who met with Iran’s foreign minister and ambassador to the UN about the case, said in a statement that the “release should have and could have been done earlier, but I am glad and relieved that Mike is on his way home to get treated.”
Iran Frees U.S. Navy Vet after Two Years in Prison
By Zachary Evans, National Review, June 4, 2020:
A U.S. Navy veteran held in Iran for the past two years has been freed.
Michael White, 48, was detained in July 2018 after traveling to Iran to see a woman he had met online and fell in love with. White was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March 2019, in part for insulting Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In March 2020 White was hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms and was furloughed along with other prisoners after the pathogen swept through Iranian jails. White’s release to the U.S. is part of a prisoner swap the details of which will be released on Thursday, U.S. officials told the Associated Press.
“I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely in American custody and on his way home,” White’s mother Joanne said in a statement. “I am incredibly grateful to the Administration, especially the team at the State Department for their work on Michael’s case.”
The Navy veteran was on a Swiss government plane to Zurich as of Thursday morning, and from there he will be flown to the U.S. with the Trump administration’s special envoy to Iran Brian Hook. Switzerland maintains an embassy in Tehran and often acts as a go-between for negotiations between Iran and the U.S.
There are currently at least three other American citizens held in Iran.
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