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Prisoner Exchange Brings Home American Vet From Iran and Allows Iranian-American Doctor to Visit Iran
On June 4th, 2020, the government of Iran released an American citizen who had been held in custody for two years. Michael R. White, a Navy veteran who has acute asthma and throat cancer, was near the beginning of a ten-year prison sentence for privacy violations and insulting Iran’s supreme leader after he had gone to Iran to visit an Iranian woman he met on the internet.
The release was part of a prisoner exchange negotiated between the governments of the United States and Iran with the help of Swiss diplomats since the U.S. and Iran do not have formal diplomatic relations and have not for the past 40 years. In exchange for Mr. White, the U.S. agreed to release Matteo (Majid) Taheri, an Iranian-American doctor who had been living in Florida and the Atlanta area for many years. Dr. Taheri was convicted of export violations in 2018. As part of the deal, Dr. Taheri will now be permitted to visit Iran.
Steven P. Berne, attorney for Dr. Taheri, described the outcome as a “happy ending for all” in this culmination of months of negotiation.