Iran General NewsTwo years on, US presses Iran to help find...

Two years on, US presses Iran to help find ex-agent

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ImageAFP: The US State Department on Sunday reiterated its call for Iran to help locate Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing on an island in the Gulf two years ago.

ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) — The US State Department on Sunday reiterated its call for Iran to help locate Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing on an island in the Gulf two years ago.

"On this day, we reiterate our commitment to determining Mr. Levinson's welfare and whereabouts, and reuniting him with his family," acting State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement marking the two-year anniversary of Levinson's disappearance.

Wood noted that "no information has been forthcoming" on the case from Tehran. The Iranian judiciary denied last month that it was holding Levinson.

"We continue to call on Iran to stand by its commitment by providing full details about their authorities' investigation both to his family and to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which looks after US interests in the absence of normal diplomatic relations."

Washington and Tehran broke off diplomatic ties in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"It would be an extraordinary opportunity for the government of Iran to make such a gesture, to permit contact, to release him, to make it clear that there is a new attitude in Iran, as we believe there will be with the Obama administration, toward engagement," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in mid-January.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson said last month that he believed Levinson was alive and that "he's being held by the Iranians."

Newsweek magazine reported then that "some US intelligence officials" believe Tehran may consider releasing Levinson as part of a swap for several Iranians seized by US military forces in northern Iraq in 2007.

According to his family, Levinson traveled to the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 to investigate cigarette counterfeiting in the region.

The mystery of Levinson's disappearance is a further strain in relations between the United States and Iran, which remain at loggerheads over the Iranian nuclear drive.

Clinton said Thursday that Iran would be invited to a high-level international conference on Afghanistan being planned for the end of the month in the latest overture by the administration of President Barack Obama toward Tehran.

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