June 4, 2020 / 4:21 PM / in a month

Swiss foreign ministry declines comment on U.S. detainee in Iran

GENEVA (Reuters) - A Swiss foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on Thursday on tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump saying that Michael White, has left Iranian airspace on a Swiss plane.

“I can’t say anything about this,” Sebastian Hueber, chief spokesman for the Swiss foreign ministry, told Reuters from the capital Bern.

White, a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran since 2018, was freed on Thursday, his family said in a statement, a rare instance of cooperation between Tehran and Washington despite their bitter relationship.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter held for 544 days in Iran, was flown out on a Swiss plane in January 2016.

This January marked the 40th anniversary of Switzerland taking on a mandate of neutral “protecting power” representing U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran since Washington and Tehran cut ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alex Richardson

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