President Trump sent a clear message to Iran about the man considered to be the longest-held hostage in U.S. history.
The president tweeted that it would be a “positive step” for Iran to “turn over” former FBI agent Robert Levinson following reports that Iran has an “ongoing” case against the now-71-year-old who mysteriously disappeared in 2007.
“If Iran is able to turn over to the U.S. kidnapped former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step,” Trump tweeted on Sunday following reports that Iran had an the open case against Levinson.
If Iran is able to turn over to the U.S. kidnapped former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step. At the same time, upon information & belief, Iran is, & has been, enriching uranium. THAT WOULD BE A VERY BAD STEP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
Levinson was last seen alive in a 2011 hostage video, and the only other photos of him since his disappearance were released in 2010 and 2011, according to The Associated Press which reported that he had been on a mission for the CIA when he was last seen Iran’s Kish Island on March 9, 2007.
The Trump administration has offered $25 million for information about what happened to him.
Today, @Rewards4Justice announced a #reward of up to $20 million for information leading to the location, recovery, and return of retired special agent Robert Levinson. #HelpBobLevinson #FreeBobLevinson https://t.co/NEE1HHEokQ pic.twitter.com/Kiy6LZanuV
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) November 4, 2019
“The Trump administration has made clear that the regime in Iran must release all missing and wrongfully detained Americans, including Robert Levinson, Xiyue Wang, Siamak Namazi, and others,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week in a statement. “We will not rest until they are reunited with their families.”
Iran has never admitted to holding Levinson or even knowing anything about his whereabouts, but it acknowledged for the first time that there is an open case on him before its Revolutionary Court, in a filing to the United Nations, according to The Associated Press which obtained a copy of the U.N. report on Saturday.
“According to the last statement of Tehran’s Justice Department, Mr. Robert Alan Levinson has an ongoing case in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran,” the filing said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi denied that the ex-FBI agent was being prosecuted but noted that the case was only “was a missing person” filing.
Levinson “has no judicial or criminal case in any Islamic Republic of Iran court whatsoever,” Mousavi told reporters. “It is normal that a case is opened like it’s done for any missing people anywhere in Iran.”
Though Trump did not offer any other details in his tweet, he appeared to link Levinson’s case to Iran’s nuclear program.
“At the same time, upon information & belief, Iran is & has been, enriching uranium. THAT WOULD BE A VERY BAD STEP!” Trump tweeted.
A senior State Department official revealed that the U.S. had reached out to Iran “through intermediaries” but said there has not yet been any response.
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