Iran says it has “no knowledge” of the death of a former US FBI agent
The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who has been missing since 2007, said Thursday he would be “dead while in detention” by Iranian authorities. An announcement that could poison relations between Washington and Tehran.
Iran said Thursday (March 26th) it has “no knowledge” of the whereabouts Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in 2007 in mysterious circumstances. The day before, his family announced that he was “dead while in detention” by the Iranian authorities.
For his part, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not formally confirm his death, but hinted that it was likely. “They did not tell us that he was dead, but many people think he is,” he said, saying “sorry”. He admitted that the information was “not encouraging”. “He has been sick for years,” he said, speaking of himself in the past and admitting that he failed to bring him back to the United States.
“Not owned by Iran”
“Iran has always argued that its officials have no knowledge of Mr. Levinson’s whereabouts, and that he is not detained by Iran,” said press officer Alireza Miryousefi. to the Iranian mission to the UN. “These facts have not changed,” he said.
Without being able to give the causes or the date of death of the one who was often presented as the oldest hostage in American history, the family only estimated that it had occurred before the epidemic of Covid- 19 which hit Iran hard.
Subject of tension
Robert Levinson’s death, if officially confirmed, risks further aggravating the already extremely strained relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic.
Last week, the American diplomat, Mike Pompeo, demanded from Tehran that he “immediately release” all American nationals from the threat of coronavirus in his prisons.
Earlier, in early 2016, the previous administration of Barack Obama had said it thought Robert Levinson was no longer in Iran. The Washington Post reported in 2013 that Levinson, who had retired from the FBI, worked for the CIA and went on a mission to gather intelligence about Iran.
Iranian officials have repeatedly stated that they have no information about him.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in 2018 that Levinson had visited Iran at some point and then left; and that he had no information about anything that might have happened after he left.