By Christi Parsons
November 26, 2013, 11:36 a.m.
Days after completing a landmark deal with Iran to freeze its nuclear program, the White House publicly called Tuesday for the release of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was taken captive in Iran more than six years ago.
In the statement, the White House side-stepped the question of who exactly was responsible for Levinson’s disappearance.
Levinson “went missing,” the release says before saying the Obama administration “respectfully” asks the government in Tehran to “assist us in securing” his return.
“As we approach the upcoming holiday season, we reiterate the commitment of the United States government to locate Mr. Levinson and bring him home safely to his family, friends, and loved ones,” the White House said in a statement. A private investigator after retiring from the FBI, Levinson disappeared in March 2007 on a resort island in the Persian Gulf. His family later received a video, in which Levinson is seen pleading for release, as well as photos of him dressed like a detainee at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Levinson family considers him to be the longest-held hostage in American history, noting that his time in captivity surpasses the 2,454 days that journalist Terry Anderson was held in Beirut.
The White House statement said simply that Levinson is “one of the longest-held Americans in history.” For years, the U.S. government has been calling for the safe return of Levinson and several other Americans missing in Iran.
The reminder about Levinson's detention was an abrupt reminder of the deep distrust and ill will between Washington and Tehran despite the apparent thaw in relations between President Obama and Iran's new leader, Hassan Rouhani, and the nuclear deal announced Sunday in Geneva.
The nuclear deal makes no mention of the detention of U.S. citizens, but White House officials say that during the negotiations in Geneva, the U.S. delegation raised the plight of U.S. citizens held in Iran, including Levinson.
Statement from the White House:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
On March 9, 2007, American citizen and retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson went missing during a business trip to Kish Island, Iran. Today, Mr. Levinson becomes one of the longest held Americans in history.
As we approach the upcoming holiday season, we reiterate the commitment of the United States Government to locate Mr. Levinson and bring him home safely to his family, friends, and loved ones. We welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation, and we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.
"You would think that after having struck a deal with Iran just this weekend that this would have been part of that deal! Stupid has run amuck somewhere!"
What about the other 2 Americans being held hostage??
Americans continue to be left behind.
This should have been a MANDATORY part of the 'agreement' -- release the Americans.
This is a fake shut up letter. They do not care about this American citizen. If they did, they would have sought to get him freed already.
Yeah, what about the Reverend from Idaho?
US COMBAT VETERAN: Vietnam, '68-'69; 228th Avn. Bn. (ASH), 1st Cav. Div. (AM) and former Armored Cavalry Scout (19D30), a mighty proud to have served and would do it again.
May the Great Spirit watch over us all and guide our steps through out eternity.
Oops. Pastor Saeed could have used a mention as well. What a great administration we have.
Thanks, Reverend Giacherio, his name totally slipped my mind even though he's from Boise, which is just a few mile from me.
May the Great Spirit watch over you and yours and guide you and their steps through out eternity.
There are 3 American citizens left behind in Iran.
From September 2013:
U.S. President Barack Obama, during his phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, "noted our concern about three American citizens who have been held within Iran -- Robert Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati -- and noted our interest in seeing those Americans reunited with their families," the official said.
"Noted" concern and interest? Wow, how strong our Dear Leader is in dealing with inferior countries and their thug leaders. How proud are you??
Well, if Obama has stuck his nose in this, we won't see him until a real president takes office.
this was supposed to be done before the deal was signed, as a matter of fact it should have been part of the agreement with iran.......too little too late....remember Benghazi.
It will be interesting to se if Iram releases Levinson and the Christian preacher as a "major step" in Muslim Glasnost. It would be appropriate at the beginning of Eid.
Not holding my breath. This Administration has a habit of abandoning or double-crossing it;s servants and citizens.
When the two sides of the culture of death meet - "eugenicist progressives" and jihadist's - saving a life or showing mercy are not in their lexicon.
Do ya think Kerry and Ovomit could have made the release of ALL American prisoners part of the "great deal" they signed with Iran? This should prove to Americans that this Administration doesn't give a damn about them, only about their agenda.
All BS, all lying, all posturing, all placating,...............Just a game, another gimmick. May God help these people, because, you can bet the Thing in the WH sure as hell isn't going to.