Iran grants medical furlough to imprisoned US Navy veteran amid coronavirus outbreak

Iran grants medical furlough to imprisoned US Navy veteran amid coronavirus outbreak
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Iran has granted an imprisoned U.S. Navy veteran a medical furlough as the country is gripped by the coronavirus outbreak, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo blasts media coverage of Trump foreign policy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Trump's tax return bombshell US says it will leave Baghdad embassy if Iraq doesn't rein in attacks: report MORE announced Thursday.

Pompeo said in a statement that Michael White, who has been detained in Iran for more than a year, was released on humanitarian grounds on condition he stay in Iran. He is currently in the Swiss Embassy in Tehran and will undergo medical testing and evaluation. 

“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. “We thank the Government of Switzerland for its continued and constructive role as our protecting power in Iran.” 


White has been imprisoned since July 2018 after being convicted to a 13-year sentence for insulting Iran’s supreme leader and posting private information. He had been visiting his girlfriend when he was detained. 

A spokesperson for the White family told The Associated Press the family appreciates the “interim humanitarian step.” 

“We continue to urge them to release Michael unconditionally so that he can return to the United States to receive the advanced medical care he needs,” spokesman Jon Franks said.

Iran has already released tens of thousands of prisoners as it scrambles to contain the coronavirus outbreak within its borders. More than 18,000 people have contracted the virus within Iran, and nearly 1,300 people have died.