Detained US veteran released on medical furlough in Iran: Pompeo

Washington (AFP) –


A US military veteran imprisoned in Iran was freed Monday for medical reasons on condition that he stay in the country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Michael White has been transferred for medical examinations to the Swiss embassy, which represents US interests in Tehran in the absence of diplomatic relations, Pompeo said.

"The United States will continue to work for Michael's full release as well as the release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Iran," Pompeo said.

White, who spent 13 years in the US Navy, was arrested in July 2018 in the northeastern city of Mashhad while visiting a girlfriend he reportedly met online.

He was sentenced the following year to at least 10 years in prison on charges he insulted Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and posted anti-regime remarks on social media under a pseudonym.

Pompeo did not reveal the health issues but White has said that he suffered cancer and that Iranian doctors removed a melanoma from his back.

Iran has been heavily hit by the global coronavirus pandemic, with a death toll of nearly 1,300.