Iran says it is holding US Navy veteran

U.S. Navy veteran Michael R. White has been held in Iran for more than six months his family said

In the absence of relations, the Swiss Embassy represents USA diplomatic interests in Iran.

"We are aware of reports of the detention of a USA citizen in Iran", a spokesperson for the State Department told NPR.

Joanne White, Michael's mother, could not immediately be reached by NPR.

"An American citizen was arrested in the city of Mashhad some time ago and his case was conveyed to the U.S administration on the first days [of his incarceration]", Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, according to the AP.

White said she did not intend to release further details because she was anxious about the complexity of her son's case in Iran.

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The case is likely to further worsen relations with the United States. She said she filed a missing person report after he failed to return to work in California in late July.

Ghasemi said reports in the U.S. media that White was being held in poor conditions were "false and inaccurate".

"Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", the representative said.

She is anxious about her 46-year-old son's health because he has had cancer and suffers from asthma, she said.

Michael White's wife, Lupe White, said she last saw her husband July 9, and he texted her a day later saying he was on a business trip for two weeks.

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"We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas". His family said he's been held captive since last summer.

Siamak Namazi, another son of Baquer, is being held following a clandestine trial in which he was convicted of collaborating with a hostile state. While the Trump administration offered to discuss prisoners a year ago, a senior administrative official said Iran turned that offer down, leaving the fate of the Americans unclear.

Speaking about the relations between countries, Iran leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called US officials "first-class idiots" Wednesday. About five months later, the State Department informed her that he's being held in an Iranian prison.

President Donald Trump withdrew from an global agreement Iran's nuclear programme and re-imposed sanctions past year that hit the Iranian economy hard.

Several US citizens have been held in Iran in recent years, with Mr Trump warning in 2017 that Tehran would face "new and serious consequences" unless all unjustly held American citizens were freed.

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