US thanks Switzerland for efforts on detainees in Iran 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has thanked Switzerland for its efforts representing American interests in Iran. Keystone

Switzerland, which acts as an intermediary between the United States and Iran, has asked Tehran to extend the medical leave of absence from detention of American navy veteran Michael White, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.   

This content was published on May 6, 2020 - 17:45

Pompeo also thanked Switzerland for seeking humanitarian furloughs from Iranian detention for dual US-Iranian citizens Siamak Namazi and Morad Tabaz, Reuters reported on Wednesday.  

White was sentenced in March 2019 to ten years in jail in Iran for insulting the country’s top leader and posting a private photograph publicly, according to media reportsExternal link. He was released on medical grounds, on condition that he stays in Iran, and moved to the Swiss embassyExternal link. White has reportedly been diagnosed with cancer.   

Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since 1980, when it broke off relations. In December 2019, it facilitated a prisoner swap between the two countries, despite the deterioration of their already tense relations under the Trump administration.   

Washington has demanded that Iran release all the Americans it is holding, including White and a former FBI agent missing since 2007. Several dozen Iranians are being held in US jails, many of them for breaking sanctions.  


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