Retired US Federal Police (FBI) Agent Disappeared in Mysterious Circumstances in 2007 in Iran, Robert Levinson is "Died while detained by Iranian authorities", his family announced Wednesday, March 25.
Without being able to give the causes or the date of death of the one who has often been presented as the oldest hostage in the history of the United States, his relatives however estimated that it had occurred before the Covid-19 epidemic. "It is impossible to describe our grief", they said.
They had several times alerted to the state of health – he suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure – of this father of seven, who would have turned 72 this month. "Without the cruel and heartless acts of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson would be alive and at home with us today", they added, pointing out that they "Expected responses for thirteen years", without any contact.
Levinson's family also accused Iranian authorities of having "Lied to the world all this time" assuring that he did not know what had happened to this ex-FBI agent.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has not formally confirmed his death, but has hinted that it is likely. " They didn’t tell us that he was dead, but many people think he is. ", he said, saying to himself "Sorry".
He acknowledged that the information was not "Not encouraging". "He was sick for years", he also stressed, speaking of him in the past and acknowledging having failed to bring him back to the United States.
Calls to empower Tehran
His death, if officially confirmed, risks further aggravating the already extremely strained relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio called the Trump administration to "Keep the harmful regime" from Tehran "Responsible". New Jersey Democratic colleague Bob Menendez also tried Iranian authorities "Fully responsible for the disappearance and death of Bob Levinson".
Recently, the American diplomat, Mike Pompeo, asked Tehran to "Release immediately" all American nationals detained in its prisons in the face of the threat of the Covid-19 epidemic. "We also ask the regime to honor its commitment to work with the United States to achieve the return of Robert Levinson", he insisted.
The administration of Donald Trump, who made the release of his nationals "Hostages" or "Unjustly detained" a priority abroad, had repeatedly displayed its determination to "Locate" Robert Levinson so that he "May return".
Earlier in early 2016, the Barack Obama administration said it believed Robert Levinson was no longer in Iran. A reward of 5 million dollars (4.6 million euros) had been announced for any information that could have led to his location and his return to the United States.
A photograph made public in early 2013
Iranian officials have repeatedly said he left the country and have no information about him.
An image of him, bearded, chained, and wearing an orange prisoner outfit had been made public in early 2013 and probably dated two years earlier, without knowing under what circumstances, where and by whom it was taken.
"They kidnapped a foreign national and deprived him of his fundamental rights, his blood is on their hands", accused the family, also targeting "Those who in the US government have abandoned it for so many years". She nevertheless thanked President Trump for his efforts.
Washington has always claimed that Robert Levinson was not working for the United States government at the time of his disappearance in March 2017 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf. He had already retired from the FBI for ten years. But according to the Washington Post, he worked for the CIA and was to meet an informer about the Iranian nuclear program.