Robert Levinson's family confirms former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent died in Iranian custody

Cheryl Sanders
March 26, 2020

In a statement his family said it was believed his death occurred before the coronavirus pandemic. They went on to condemn the "cruel, heartless actions of the Iranian regime" as well as "those in the US government who for many years repeatedly left him behind".

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". "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most fantastic man, a new reality that is inconceivable to us".

The family of Robert Levinson, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and has been held illegally by the regime since then despite numerous pleas for his release, said on Wednesday that US officials believe he "died while in Iranian custody", sometime prior to the deadly outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus in Iran.

The family thanked President Trump and USA officials for their efforts to find Levinson.

His family on Wednesday accused Tehran of "repeatedly lying to the world" about Levinson and renewed criticism of the initial U.S. response.

"Initially Levinson - or a complete accounting of what had happened to him - was to be a part of the deal, but the Rouhani administration decided there was no political value of the time in acknowledging after eight years that yes, Iran had been responsible for his disappearance", Rezaian wrote in his book, "Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison - Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out".

Archin provided a more precise translation of the documents than a US government translation given to the Levinsons years ago.

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement later: "While the investigation is ongoing, we believe that Bob Levinson may have passed away some time ago".

Levinson's family said in a posting on Facebook and a website: "Today with aching hearts, we are sharing devastating news about Robert Levinson, the head of our family". His grandchildren will never meet him.

It wasn't immediately clear why the Trump administration told the family that Levinson nearly certainly had died as an Iranian hostage if the President himself wasn't convinced of it.

The family received proof-of-life photos and a video in late 2010 and early 2011, but his whereabouts and fate were not known.

It said at the time that the Central Intelligence Agency paid US$2.5 million to Levinson's wife Christine, accepting responsibility for his disappearance.

The family posted blame for the "heartless" Iranian regime and praised President Donald Trump and his administration for doing "all they could to make our family whole again".

Trump called Levinson "a gentleman" and "outstanding". The person said the information about Levinson had come from Iran's foreign minister. Iran later clarified that the case was an investigation into his disappearance and not that Levinson was being prosecuted.

The family experienced a surge of hope in November 2019 when the Iranian government unexpectedly responded to a United Nations query by saying that Levinson was the subject of an "open case" in Iranian Revolutionary Court. "That would be a very bad step!" he added.

Other reports by iNewsToday