Tehran Has No Knowledge of Missing US Agent Levinson's Whereabouts

Clay Curtis
March 27, 2020

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.

Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson - who was held hostage in Iran for more than a decade - is presumed dead, his grieving family announced Wednesday.

The US president added: "I won't accept that he's dead".

In their statement, the Levinson family condemned the Iranian regime, promising to continue to seek justice in their patriarch's death and to hold accountable "those in the USA government who for many years repeatedly left him behind". "The Levinson family deserves justice, and we will continue to push for Bob's return to his loved ones".

The Iranian Government has never publicly acknowledged any role in Mr Levinson's abduction.

Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island on March 9, 2007, after meeting a source, Daoud Salahuddin, an American Islamic militant who fled to Iran while facing charges in the murder of an Iranian embassy official based in Washington.

For years, USA officials would say only that Levinson was working independently on a private investigation.

Another theory of United States officials was that the Iranian government could have routed the images externally in an effort to blame Mr Levinson's disappearance on someone else. But Tehran later clarified that the "open case" in question was merely a missing persons investigation into Levinson's disappearance. "They haven't told us that he's dead, but a lot of people are thinking that that's the case", he said.

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The family said they did not know when, or even if, Mr Levinson's body would be returned to them, calling it "the very definition of cruelty".

But White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said later that an investigation was still going on but "we believe that Bob Levinson may have passed away some time ago". "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most fantastic man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us". Documents his family obtained by an Iranian source and provided to ABC News last fall appeared to show that Iranian military prosecutors ordered him detained on the island on suspicion of spying and held him for months at a military airfield even after he slipped into a coma that they said was caused by his diabetes. The outlet noted that Levinson was "the longest-held hostage in US history".

"It's not looking promising ... we feel terribly for the family", Trump said.

In 2010, a videotape of a haggard, bearded Levinson emerged by which he wore an orange jumpsuit of the kind worn by prisoners being held indefinitely on the USA naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

What happened to Robert Levinson?

Iranian state-owned Press TV reported in April 2007 that Levinson was in the hands of Iranian security forces, but since then multiple Iranian officials have insisted they know nothing of his whereabouts.

Later in November 2019, Iran responded to a United Nations query by saying that Levinson "has an ongoing case in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran".

The judge's decision followed a weekslong trial of emotional testimony from Levinson's family, including from each of his seven children.

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