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!"
I would hate to be waiting on this administration to help an American citizen. Maybe a muslim communist would get some help and offered work at the whitehouse when back in the country. Berry could give a hoot about helping any God fearing American...Good job berry lovers, he has been such a good commie for you, you should be proud to have voted this illegal terrorist in office..
How about Bowe Bergdahl... POW since June of 2009 !!!!
I guess Kerry forgot to ask "what's in it for us?" Or he just didn't care about any Americans who were unfortunate enough to upset our new friends in Iran.
Lovely that the release was an after-thought. What about the rest of the prisoners? This so called president is so disgusting.
(More BS From The Left).
Obama Administration + Commitment to Americans = Oxymoron.