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Iran confirms detention of U.S. Navy veteran

Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi reportedly confirmed that an American citizen had been arrested in Iran. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran has confirmed it is holding U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, AP reports. White has been held since July on unknown charges. He had been to the country several times to visit his Iranian girlfriend, his family told the New York Times.

Why it matters: White is the first American known to have been detained by Iran since President Trump took office, according to AP. Trump has taken a hardline stance against Iran and sharply criticized former President Obama for a "weak" response to the detention of U.S. sailors in 2016. As AP notes, "Iran in the past has used its detention of Westerners and dual nationals as leverage in negotiations."