CORAL SPRINGS (CBS4) – Thursday marks the four-year anniversary of the disappearance of a Coral Springs man during a trip to Iran.
Last Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that there were indications that former FBI agent Robert Levinson was still alive. Tehran and Washington traded carefully worded diplomatic messages, both sides described finding Levinson, a father of seven with a history of health problems, as a humanitarian issue.
While Iran continued to deny ever capturing Levinson, in the promising sign of cooperation Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran would cooperate “on a humanitarian basis.” He called on the U.S. to provide more information about Levinson.
“If there is reliable information, relaying it to Iranian officials can turn this into a collective effort,” he said.
Two days after Clinton made the announcement that there was evidence that Levinson was still alive, his wife Christine released the following statement:
“It has been almost four years since I have seen my beloved husband Robert Levinson. Our family
is tremendously encouraged by the news Bob is alive but remains concerned for his safety and well being. Bob suffers with diabetes requiring regular medication. Our seven children, our two grandchildren, and I await the day we will be reunited. We ask for your continued prayers and support.”
After leaving the FBI, Levinson began investigations for private clients. Levinson vanished while on a business trip to Kish Island, Iran in 2007. During the trip he met with Dawud Salahuddin, an American fugitive wanted for the assassination of a former Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980. Salahuddin has said he last saw Levinson being questioned by Iranian officials. Levinson’s distinctive signature was used to check out of his hotel, but he never made it to the airport.
Levinson’s family has pressed the U.S. and Iranian governments for years, traveling back-and-forth to Washington, D.C. and even retracing his steps on Kish Island.
Clinton said it’s possible Levinson was being held somewhere in southwest Asia.
Iran shares borders with the southwest Asian countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, raising the possibility that Levinson was shuttled into one of those countries. Both border crossings are known smuggling routes. The route into Pakistan leads into a lawless tribal region that’s home to insurgents, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.
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