Iran sentences US Navy veteran to 10 years in prison

news
Iran President Hassan Rouhani (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

(Reuters) - A U.S. Navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison, his family's lawyer said, after he was arrested last July while visiting an Iranian woman in the city of Mashhad.


Michael White, 46, was convicted of two charges, insulting the country's top leader and posting a private photograph publicly, in separate hearings on March 6 and March 9, according to the lawyer, Mark Zaid.

The basis for the first charge is not yet clear. The second charge appears to have been leveled after White uploaded a picture of himself sitting with the woman, an Iranian national, Zaid said.

Iranian authorities have not released details of the charges. The U.S. State Department said it was aware of White's detention, but added that it could not provide additional information because of "privacy considerations."

"We are aware of the detention of a U.S. citizen in Iran," a State Department official said. "We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad."

The family learned of the sentence earlier this week from the State Department, which in turn received the information from Swiss diplomats. The Swiss represent U.S. interests in Iran because the countries do not maintain diplomatic ties.

White, a California native, served 13 years in the Navy.

The family and the State Department are still trying to determine whether the charges are politically motivated or the result of a criminal prosecution, Zaid said.

"It's been very unclear," he added.

White's arrest has further strained the difficult relationship between the Trump administration and Iran, which worsened after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from an international agreement curbing Iran's nuclear program and re-imposed sanctions.

The Iranian regime has imprisoned several other American citizens in recent years, including father-and-son Baquer and Siamak Namazi, and Xiyue Wang.

All three were accused of espionage-related activities and have denied the allegations. The United Nations has condemned the prosecutions as unjust, and Trump has demanded that Iran release all U.S. citizens in custody.

Since January, when Iran first confirmed White's arrest, he has not been permitted to contact his family, Zaid said.

His court-appointed lawyer for the two hearings did not speak English, Zaid said, adding that the family is working on hiring an Iranian lawyer to handle White's appeal.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Bill Berkrot)

New London — Retired four-star general John Kelly said that as President Donald Trump's chief of staff, he pushed back against the proposal to deploy U.S. troops to the southern border, arguing at the time that active-duty U.S. military personnel typically don't deploy or operate domestically.

"We don't like it," Kelly said in remarks at the Coast Guard Academy on Thursday night. "We see that as someone else's job meaning law enforcement."

Read More Show Less
Photo: Iran

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Yemen's Houthi rebel group, part of a regional network of militants backed by Iran, claims to be behind the drone strikes on two Saudi oil facilities that have the potential to disrupt global oil supplies.

A report from the United Nations Security Council published in January suggests that Houthi forces have obtained more powerful drone weaponry than what was previously available to them, and that the newer drones have the capability to travel greater distances and inflict more harm.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Air Force has selected two companies to make an extreme cold-weather boot for pilots as part of a long-term effort to better protect aviators from frostbite in emergencies.

In August the service awarded a contract worth up to $4.75 million to be split between Propel LLC and the Belleville Boot Company for boots designed keep pilots' feet warm in temperatures as low as -20 Fahrenheit without the bulk of existing extreme cold weather boots, according to Debra McLean, acquisition program manager for Clothing & Textiles Domain at Air Force Life Cycle Management Command's Agile Combat Support/Human Systems Division.

Read More Show Less

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran rejected accusations by the United States that it was behind attacks on Saudi oil plants that risk disrupting world energy supplies and warned on Sunday that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were in range of its missiles.

Yemen's Houthi group claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks that knocked out more than half of Saudi oil output or more than 5% of global supply, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the assault was the work of Iran, a Houthi ally.

Read More Show Less
Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)

Nearly a decade after he allegedly murdered an unarmed Afghan civilian during a 2010 deployment, the case of Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is finally going to trial.

Read More Show Less