MNA – Despite the repeated announcements by Iran of not having any information on ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson’s fate, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed his disappearance in a White House press release on March 9, calling for Iran to work with the US for Levinson’s return.
“Iran must honor the commitment it has made to work with the United States for Levinson’s return,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, 13 years after disappearance the American agent. “Returning all Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad is President Trump’s top priority. We will work until Bob Levinson and all US hostages and wrongful detainees come home.”
Levinson reportedly visited Iran’s southern Kish Island on March 9, 2007. He later went missing and his whereabouts have remained unknown ever since.
The US State Department insisted that Levinson was a private citizen who had traveled to Kish on private business.
Nevertheless, six years after Levinson’s disappearance, the Associated Press has revealed that he was recruited by the CIA to run unauthorized spying operations.
According to the AP, the CIA paid $2.5 million to Levinson’s family in a bid to pre-empt a revealing lawsuit.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in 2013 that the retired FBI agent, who went missing in Iran in 2007, is not imprisoned in the country.
“We know that he is not incarcerated in Iran. If he is, he is not incarcerated by the government and I believe the government runs a pretty much good control of the country,” said the Iranian foreign minister at the time. Zarif assured that if Iran finds any trace of him, it will then discuss his return.
In early November 2019, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mousavi dismissed an earlier report by the Associated Press, saying that the missing former FBI agent Robert Levinson does not have any legal case open in Iranian courts.
“According to the latest information that I obtained from the revered officials of the Judiciary, Mr. Levinson does not have any legal or criminal case in any of courts of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Mousavi said.
The spokesman added that if there has been an issue brought up in that regard, we assume that it must have had to do the issue of his missing.
He further explained that when Iran was asked for help with regard to his case, it opened a case for him based on humanitarian considerations, as it usually does this for reported missing people.
Mousavi also stressed that his case is not a criminal or legal case as the AP has claimed.
He added that the alleged open case is about a missing individual which was opened after the Islamic Republic of Iran was asked for to show its goodwill. He went on to say that Iran is pursuing the issue based on humanitarian rounds and as it has so far said on different occasions the country has no information on his fate.
The FM spokesman further expressed Iran’s readiness to help with the issue, while stressing that Iran’s readiness to cooperate on his case does not necessarily mean he has an open case in Iranian courts.