March 9 marked nine years since Robert Levinson went missing in Iran. Levinson, a former FBI agent, disappeared on March 9, 2007, during a visit to Kish Island. Initial reports indicated that he was researching a cigarette smuggling case as a private investigator. In late 2013, his family acknowledged that his visit to Kish Island was partly related to his contract work for the CIA. He was not included in the prisoner swap on January 16 that released four Americans held in Iran, and Tehran has denied knowing his status or location. The following are statements from U.S. officials and agencies on the anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance.
March 9, 2016
Secretary of State John Kerry
On the anniversary today of Robert Levinson’s disappearance from Kish Island, Iran, nine years ago, I want to underscore our commitment to locate Bob and bring him home.
For almost a decade, a beloved husband, brother, father, and grandfather has been kept from celebrating family milestones most take for granted. No one should have to endure what Mr. Levinson and his family have endured for so long.
As the President has said, and as I have told the Levinson family when I have met with them, we will never forget Bob, and we will not rest until the Levinson family is whole again.
The U.S. government in its entirety will continue all efforts to locate Bob and bring him home. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed to cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Levinson, and we are holding Iran to its promise.
White House Press Secretary Statement
Today marks the ninth year since retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared during a trip to Kish Island, Iran. We continue to call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide assistance in his case, as agreed to as part of the prisoner exchange finalized earlier this year, so that we can bring Mr. Levinson home.
Finding Mr. Levinson remains a top priority for the United States, and we continue to spare no effort to bring him home. Today the United States renews its unrelenting commitment to securing Mr. Levinson's return. Our hearts remain with the Levinson family. They have endured the pain and suffering of his disappearance for far too long.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Statement
Nine years ago, on March 9, 2007, Robert A. “Bob” Levinson went missing on Kish Island, Iran. Bob, who will turn 68 tomorrow, served his country for 28 years, including 22 years as a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is the longest-held hostage in American history.
The FBI continues to work closely with our intelligence community and international partners to locate Bob and bring him home safely. We are encouraged by recent cooperation between the government of Iran and the United States and believe that our ability to locate Bob and reunite him with his family requires a shared commitment by the Iranian government.
“Bob’s wife, children, and grandchildren have waited nine long years for the release of their loved one. Nine years is an incomprehensible amount of time for him to be missing without any word of his whereabouts,” said FBI Director James B. Comey. “The FBI family feels personally connected to ensuring Bob’s safe return and we are doing everything in our power to investigate all leads.”
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Photo credit: FBI.gov and Levinson family