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US Navy veteran sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for insulting top leader, posting private photo

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Meng Tao/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran.

The 46-year-old California native was charged with insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top leader, and posting a private photo on social media while visiting his girlfriend in July 2018, according to the New York Times.

Iranian officials would provide no further details of the charges.

Mark Zaid, White’s attorney, told the Daily News that he only learned of his client’s sentence from the State Department, which was informed by the Swiss government.

Zaid told NBC News he has not been in direct contact with White and intends to hire a local Iranian attorney for any possible appeals.

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“It’s unclear at this time whether Michael is simply an unfortunate foreigner caught in a very different legal system or being used as a political pawn,” Zaid said in an email to NBC News.

White is the first American imprisoned in Iran since President Trump took office, according to the Times.

Three others, Siamak Namazi, Baquer Namazi and Xiyue Wang, have been held there since at least August 2016 after being accused of spying.

Robert Levinson, a former DEA and FBI agent, disappeared in Iran in 2007.

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© 2019 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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