Thursday, 09 April, 2020

Iran Denies Any Knowledge of Missing ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson wearing glasses and looking at the camera From New York Times Robert Levinson
Deanna Wagner | 27 March, 2020, 03:38

The family of former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared 13 years ago on an island off Iran, said Wednesday that he died while being held in Iran as the longest-held hostage in American history.

Levinson, then a private investigator, was seeking information on alleged corruption involving former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his family, sources familiar with his work said.

"It's not looking promising", Trump said, but "I won't accept that he's dead".

"Those who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, including those in the USA government who for many years repeatedly left him behind, will ultimately receive justice for what they have done".

Wray writes in the email that he himself met with the Levinson family and "explained that the most credible evidence we have collected over the past 13 years points to the likelihood that Bob died in captivity".

USA officials suspect Mr Levinson was kidnapped by Iranian intelligence forces to be used as a bargaining chip in dealings with Washington.

Levinson's relatives said they "expect American officials, as well as officials around the world, to continue to press Iran to seek Bob's return, and to ensure those Iranian officials involved are held accountable".

Levinson disappeared 13 years ago on Iran's Kish island.

This undated handout photo provided by the family of Robert Levinson after they received it in April 2011, shows retired-FBI agent Robert Levinson. One of those freed was Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who wrote in a memoir a year ago that an Iranian source indicated Levinson, or answers to his fate, were withheld by the regime as a future bargaining chip for their interests.

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Iran reiterated its previous comments about the case, saying it had been trying to find out about Mr Levinson's condition "but could not find any signs of him being alive".

The death is believed to have occurred before the recent outbreak of the coronavirus that has gravely affected Iran and another countries, according to a statement from Levinson's family.

"It is impossible to describe our pain", they continued.

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement: "While the investigation is ongoing, we believe that Mr Levinson may have passed away some time ago".

Levinson was the longest-held hostage in US history. "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most wonderful man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us".

The Trump administration on November 4, 2019, offered a reward of up to $20 million for information about Levinson. We don't even know when, or even if, his body would be returned to us.

The United States has repeatedly called on Iran to help locate Levinson and bring him home, but Iranian officials said they had no information about his fate.

Christine Levinson, center, wife of Robert Levinson, and her children, Dan and Samantha Levinson, talk to reporters in New York, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016.

Tehran denied knowledge of Levinson's whereabouts until November previous year when it acknowledged that there was an ongoing case involving him before its revolutionary court.