Nine years ago yesterday, former FBI agent and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency investigator Robert Levinson disappeared on Iran’s Kish Island. While many questions remain as to his whereabouts, U.S. officials are pledging their full efforts in securing his return to the United States.
“We continue to call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide assistance in his case, as agreed to as part of the prisoner exchange finalized earlier this year, so that we can bring Mr. Levinson home,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Wednesday.
Earnest, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, said Levinson’s release remains a top priority on their agenda.
“The U.S. government in its entirety will continue all efforts to locate Bob and bring him home,” Kerry said in a statement. “The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed to cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Levinson, and we are holding Iran to its promise.”
A 2013 investigation by the Associated Press found that Levinson was working for the CIA on an unauthorized intelligence-gathering mission aimed at collecting information on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The Iranian government had denied any knowledge of Levinson’s disappearance until the New York Times reported in January that a top Iranian diplomat disclosed in 2011 that Levinson was being held in order to delay the release of information about the weapons program.
Last month the FBI launched a Facebook page aimed at gathering information on Levinson’s status. Levinson turns 68 today.