Iran General NewsIran says no information on missing ex-FBI agent

Iran says no information on missing ex-FBI agent

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Reuters: Iran said on Saturday it did not have any information about former FBI agent Robert Levinson who reportedly went missing in the country nine months ago, comments likely to disappoint Levison’s visiting family members. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Saturday it did not have any information about former FBI agent Robert Levinson who reportedly went missing in the country nine months ago, comments likely to disappoint Levison’s visiting family members.

Levison’s wife and son say he disappeared in March after he traveled to Iran’s Gulf resort island of Kish to investigate cigarette smuggling for a client. They arrived in the Islamic Republic on Tuesday to search for him.

Accompanied by Swiss diplomats, who represent U.S. interests in Tehran because the two old foes have not had diplomatic ties since shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, Christine and Daniel Levinson met Iranian officials and also went to Kish.

But government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham suggested they had not been able to find out more about his fate.

“We have no information about him and at the same time no information confirming his disappearance. But we welcome any information which can help us in this matter,” Elham told a news conference when asked about their four-day visit.

“We told them to provide us with any useful information to help us follow up this case and settle this issue,” he said.

Levinson retired from the FBI’s New York office a decade ago and had taken a trip from Dubai to Kish to investigate counterfeiting and smuggling of cigarettes for a client, likely a tobacco company, his wife has said.

U.S. officials have said they believe Levinson is in Iran but they have no credible information on his whereabouts. The Iranian government has said it investigated the case but did not know what happened to him.

Levinson called his wife on March 8 before boarding a plane from Dubai to Kish. He told her he had left most of his luggage at a Dubai hotel and would be back within 24 hours, but he failed to call on March 10, his 59th birthday.

In August, the State Department said it had urged Levinson’s family to think twice about visiting Iran, where four U.S. citizens have been detained this year. The four were released later.

A Swiss diplomat told Reuters Christine and Daniel Levinson, one of seven children, had visited a hotel in Kish where Robert Levinson had been, but he declined to give details.

He said they were due to leave Tehran later on Saturday.

Christine Levinson said in September that her husband met Dawud Salahuddin, himself a U.S. citizen, at a Kish hotel.

Salahuddin, who she said was helping to investigate cigarette smuggling, told her he was briefly detained by Iranian security authorities who wanted to check his papers and when he returned to the hotel the former FBI agent was gone.

(Reporting by Hossein Jaseb and Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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