Iran has been holding a US Navy veteran since July

U.S. Navy veteran Michael R. White has been held in Iran for more than six months his family said

The New York Times has quoted White's mother, Joanne, as saying she learned three weeks ago that her son was being held at an Iranian prison.

Ghasemi said reports in the USA media that White was being held in poor conditions were "false and are strongly denied".

It is unclear when the United States was informed of White's arrest but his mother has told reporters that he went missing in July.

He had booked a return flight to San Diego for 27 July, she said.

White said she did not intend to release further details because she was anxious about the complexity of her son's case in Iran.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported the confirmation about California native Michael White, 46, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no additional information to provide at this time", a State Department official told the Times via email.

His arrest was first reported by an online news service by Iranian expatriates who interviewed a former Iranian prisoner who said he met White at Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in October.

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She is anxious about her 46-year-old son's health because he has had cancer and suffers from asthma, she said.

She and her husband, who have been married for nearly 15 years, have discussed divorce, she said, but she was hoping they had strengthened their relationship in the past six months as she helped him through chemotherapy.

Michael White is one of several U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals held in Iran. "We have no higher priority than the safety and security of USA citizens overseas".

Four Americans were arrested before Trump took office and are still being held captive in Iran. Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of spying, the Iranian government said in 2017. About five months later, the State Department informed her that he's being held in an Iranian prison.

The last time Iran released any imprisoned Americans was when the global accord on Iran's nuclear programme took effect in January 2016.

In 2007, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, Robert Levinson, went missing in Iran.

President Trump's hardline stance - exiting the nuclear deal and sanctioning Iran - has not stopped it from continuing to detain three other Americans, including Siamak Namazi and his 82-year-old father.

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