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Ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson believed dead in Iranian custody, family says

Ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson believed dead in Iranian custody, family says”

The government's acknowledgment of Levinson's death came hours after a White House briefing in which President Donald Trump appeared to equivocate on the news, saying, "I won't accept that he's dead". They were sent three emails from his captors, who didn't identify themselves and demanded millions of dollars and the release of several prisoners in exchange for Levinson's release.

"It is impossible to describe our pain", the Levinson family said. "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most wonderful man, a new reality that is inconceivable to us".

Levinson disappeared in Iran's Kish Island in 2007 while on an unauthorized Central Intelligence Agency mission. For years, US officials would say only that Levinson was working independently on a private investigation.

Levinson was the longest-held hostage in USA history, and his family had fought for over a decade for his safe return, blaming the Iranian regime for his capture and imprisonment.

The family of former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared 13 years ago on an island off Iran, said Wednesday that he died while being held in Iran as the longest-held hostage in American history.

The family thanked Donald Trump for his efforts to get Mr Levinson released, while condemning "those responsible for what happened, including those in the U.S. government who for many years repeatedly left him behind". "He was a true American hero - a true patriot, and his compassion and kindness knew no bounds".

Iranian officials steadfastly denied knowing anything about him, despite queries from the US and requests through other countries that had better relations with Iran.

"He had some rough problems prior to his detainment or capture". He was a great gentleman, and a great family. And by the evening, the White House issued a new statement created to remove some of the uncertainty expressed by the president.

Levinson's family thanked Donald Trump and his administration for doing all they could "to make our family whole again" but they blamed other, unnamed USA officials for their lack of action. "While the investigation is ongoing, we believe that Bob Levinson may have passed away some time ago".

The only known traces of Levinson surfaced in 2011 when family members released still photos and a video in which he pleaded for help. "We expect American officials, as well as officials around the world, to continue to press Iran to seek Bob's return, and to ensure those Iranian officials involved are held accountable".

The Iranian government has never publicly acknowledged any role in Mr Levinson's abduction, though at the time of his disappearance a government-affiliated media outlet broadcast a story saying he was "in the hands of Iranian security forces". Although the development gave the family a burst of hope, Iran clarified that the "open case" was simply an investigation into his disappearance. The family had sued for $1.5 billion in damages.

Levinson, who was Jewish, is survived by his wife, Christine, seven children, and numerous grandchildren.



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