Intelligence Ministry: Michael White freed for humanitarian reasons

June 6, 2020 - 21:24

TEHRAN - An Iranian Intelligence Ministry official has said that U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, who had been in jail in Iran, was released for humanitarian reasons after deterioration of his health condition.

“Michael White was a United States’ military man who entered the country under cover of a tourist. He sought espionage opportunity through deceptive methods and connection with Iranian citizens and was identified by anti-espionage department of the Intelligence Ministry and was arrested. At the same time, he faced a private plaintiff. At the end, after two years in prison, he was released for humanitarian reasons after deterioration of his health issues,” managing director of the anti-espionage department at Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said on Saturday.

He noted that Iran’s Intelligence Ministry nips in the bud any action against security of the country.

Last week Iran and the U.S. exchanged two prisoners.

“Pleased that Dr. Majid Taheri and Mr. White will soon be joining their families,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday. “Prof. Sirous Asgari was happily reunited with his family on Weds.”

“This can happen for all prisoners,” Zarif said, adding, “No need for cherry-picking. Iranian hostages held in—and on behalf of—the US should come home.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement on Thursday that White, who had been in jail in Iran, was released after being granted Islamic mercy for his crimes.

White was released from jail given the time served and in respect of human rights considerations, and left Iran on Thursday, Mousavi said.

Switzerland which takes care of the U.S. interests in Iran has played a role in the recent prisoner exchange. It has announced that that it is ready to act as a facilitator for more prisoner swaps.

NA/PA

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