U.S. Believes Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Has Died: Family

Former FBI agent Bob Levinson is seen in 2007 before his disappearance in Iran in a family

Former FBI agent Bob Levinson is seen in 2007 before his disappearance in Iran in a family

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Levinson's family said they had received information from U.S. officials that had led them to conclude he had died in Iranian custody.

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".

In a statement his family said it was believed his death occurred before the coronavirus pandemic.

"His body has not yet been returned to us for a proper burial", the family noted.

"This is the very definition of cruelty", the statement said.

"We 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", they said.

The Levinson family thanked multiple USA officials for their help, including FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and O'Brien, who before his post as national security adviser also served as the State Department's chief hostage negotiator.

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Fox News reported that "Levinson was 58 years old when he traveled to Kish Island, Iran, in 2007 working as a private investigator as part of an unauthorized Central Intelligence Agency mission allegedly probing cigarette smuggling". "If not for the cruel, heartless actions of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson would be alive and home with us today". "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most incredible man, a new reality that is inconceivable to us". The person said the information about Levinson had come from Iran's foreign minister.

Levinson, who suffered from diabetes, was last seen in a hostage video sent anonymously to the family in 2010, and then in still photographs three years later in which he was wearing an orange jumpsuit, of the kind used in the U.S. detention camp on Guantánamo Bay.

He was the longest-held hostage in United States history.

"They haven't told us that he's dead, but a lot of people are thinking that that is the case", he said.

Our family also wishes to thank Congressman Ted Deutch, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Bob Menendez, and their staff members, who fought for Bob Levinson in every possible way. Relatives took that as the first real acknowledgement that Robert Levinson was in custody and being moved through the Iranian justice system.

Iran released four USA citizens of Iranian descent in 2016 when it concluded a nuclear deal with Obama, but relations have sharply deteriorated under Trump, who withdrew from the accord and implemented sweeping sanctions. "Thirteen years since we last saw him or had any contact with him".

Iran is still holding dual USA nationals Siamak Namazi, who was convicted of charges that include espionage, his father Baquer and environmental expert Morad Tahbaz.

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