WASHINGTON | The United States confirmed Thursday the death “likely” of the American, Robert Levinson, missing since 2007 in Iran, by calling for accounts in Tehran, which has, however, ensured that this ex-FBI agent had left the country for “several years” before.
“While the investigation is ongoing, we believe that Bob Levinson is probably passed away some time ago “, said on Twitter the advisor to Donald Trump for national security, Robert O’brien.
The head of the american diplomacy Mike Pompeo has also welcomed the decision of the family to ” share it courageously with the world, the heartbreaking conclusion, according to which Bob died while he was being held by the Iranians “.
This is the first time that Washington clearly recognizes the assumption of his death, announced yesterday by his family.
The president of the United States refused Wednesday to formally confirm the death of one who has often been presented as the oldest hostage american abroad, while suggesting that it was likely.
“They did not tell us that he was dead, but a lot of people think that this is the case,” he said, saying ” sorry “.
Without accusing directly Tehran’s death, the White House has called on Iran to “provide a full account of what happened to Bob Levinson,” while calling on the islamic Republic to ” liberate all Americans are still unjustly held in this country.”
“Only Iran knows with certainty what happened to Bob since his abduction he has more than 13 years,” added Mike Pompeo in a press release.
Tehran, for its part, said Thursday that, “on the basis of credible evidence,” the former FBI agent ” had left Iran several years ago for an unknown destination “.
The fact that he could no longer be found in Iran had been discussed by the u.s. administration in 2016.
The spokesperson for the iranian foreign ministry, Abbas Mousavi, said in a press release that Iran had done everything possible to trace him after his departure without finding “no evidence” of life.
Shortly before, Alireza Miryousefi, in charge of the press with the mission of iran to the UN, reiterated that Tehran had always claimed to have “no knowledge of the whereabouts of Mr. Levinson,” and that he ” was not detained by Iran “.
This death risk to escalate even more the relationships that are already extremely strained between the United States and the islamic Republic.
Last week, the head of american diplomacy Mike Pompeo had claimed to Tehran that it “release immediately” all american citizens are facing the threat of coronavirus in its prisons.
The Washington Post had reported in 2013 that Levinson, who had retired from the FBI for some time during his disappearance, he was working for the CIA and had made it a mission to collect information on Iran.