US Navy Veteran Detained in Iran Gets 10 Years in Prison

Rebelander Basilan
Mar 20, 2019
11:05 P.M.

US Navy Veteran Michael White has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after he insulted Iran’s top leader and posted a private photo on social media.


The 46-year-old veteran from Imperial City, California has been held in Iran since July while visiting his Iranian girlfriend, as reported by The New York Times.

Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran | Photo: YouTube/CBS News

Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran | Photo: YouTube/CBS News

The veteran, who served in the Navy for 13 years, is the first American imprisoned in Iran under the administration of US President Donald Trump.

White was arrested in the northeast city of Mashhad on charges that he insulted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top leader, and posted a private photo. He was sentenced two years for the former charge, and ten years for the latter. The sentences were reportedly to run concurrently.

Swiss diplomats conveyed the information to the State Department. White has twice been granted Swiss consular visits.



The veteran, who served in the Navy for 13 years, is the first American imprisoned in Iran under the administration of US President Donald Trump.

But White is not the first American to have been imprisoned in Iran. At least three others have encountered the same fate — Siamak Namazi, since October 2015; Baquer Namazi, since February 2016; and Xiyue Wang, since August 2016. The three were incarcerated on charges of spying and sedition.


Joanne White, the veteran’s mother, has expressed worry over her son’s health, saying that his cancer may have returned while in Iran.

White has not been allowed direct communication with his family.


A family member has traveled to Iran to visit White’s Iranian girlfriend. Information about how White met the woman and other details about her have not been disclosed, however.

Families of Americans incarcerated in Iran have expressed frustration over how American officials are handling the situation. They have protested the US government’s inability to secure the release of the American prisoners.

They attended a recent congressional hearing, where they expressed their grievances and urged the government to have a dialogue with Iranian officials.

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