March 09, 2013
March 09, 2013
The United States has asked for Iranian help to locate the whereabouts of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing six years ago while on a trip to the Islamic Republic.
The anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance falls on Saturday, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington still placed a high priority on finding Levinson and bringing him home.
“The Iranian government previously offered assistance in locating Mr. Levinson, and we look forward to receiving this assistance, even as we disagree on other key issues,” Carney said.
“The FBI has also announced a $1 million reward for information leading to Mr. Levinson’s safe return. This year, we again reaffirm our commitment to bringing him home to those who love him.”
Iran’s government previously said it has no information about the whereabouts of Levinson’s, who has become another point of tension between the two nations already at odds over multiple issues, including Tehran’s nuclear program.
Mystery shrouds the fate of Levinson, who disappeared on Iran’s Gulf island of Kish while reportedly investigating cigarette counterfeiting in the region. He is believed to be held hostage somewhere in the area, according to Reuters news agency. His wife Christine last heard from him on March 8, 2007.
On January 8, Christine released photos of her husband wearing an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by prisoners at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba, holding a white placard that read, “Why You Can Not Help Me.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday met with the family of the former FBI agent and urged anyone who may have information about his whereabouts to come forward.
“I met with Mr. Levinson’s wife and son today to reiterate that the U.S. government remains committed to locating Mr. Levinson and reuniting him safely with his family,” Kerry said in a statement.
“A husband and father to seven children, Mr. Levinson has missed birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other important milestones since his disappearance six years ago from Iran’s Kish Island. He is also the grandfather of two, the second of which was born in his absence.”
Kerry’s statement comes the day before the sixth anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance. Last year, the FBI offered a rare $1 million reward for any information that could lead to his safe return.