Iran acknowledges 'open case' regarding missing FBI agent

Iran acknowledging for the first time it has an open case before a court over 2007 disappearance of Robert Levinson.

Elad Benari,

Robert Levinson
Robert Levinson
Screenshot from YouTube

Iran is acknowledging for the first time it has an open case before its Revolutionary Court over the 2007 disappearance of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

In a filing to the United Nations, Iran said the case over Levinson was "ongoing," without elaborating.

It was not immediately clear how long the case had been open, nor the circumstances by which it started.

Levinson vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission and remains missing. In the past, Iran insisted that Levinson is not in the country and that it has no further information about him.

Levinson was not included in a 2016 breakthrough prisoner swap between Iran and the US, which saw four American citizens freed in return for the release of seven Iranians jailed in the United States.

Iran’s acknowledgement of an open case on Levinson comes amid a renewed push to find him. Last week, the Trump administration quintupled to $25 million the rewards for information leading to Levinson’s return.

The $20 million allocation from the State Department Rewards for Justice announced Monday is in addition to the $5 million the FBI has for years offered for information leading to the rescue of its former agent.

AP on Saturday obtained the text of Iran's filing to the UN's Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

"According to the last statement of Tehran's Justice Department, Mr. Robert Alan Levinson has an ongoing case in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran," the filing said, without elaborating.

Iran's Revolutionary Court typically handles espionage cases and others involving smuggling, blasphemy and attempts to overthrow its Islamic government. Westerners and Iranian dual nationals with ties to the West often find themselves tried and convicted in closed-door trials in these courts, only later to be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Levinson's family has filed a lawsuit against the Iranian government in the United States. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Iran, in part for inflicting emotional distress on Levinson’s wife and seven children.

Iran's mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and its state media has not acknowledged the case. The US State Department did not respond to a request for comment about Iran's acknowledgement.




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