Decade of Uncertainty: Curious Case of Ex-FBI Agent Who Vanished in Iran
شنبه, ۵ فروردين ۱۳۹۶، ۰۷:۱۰ ب.ظ
The family of a retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran a decade ago has filed a lawsuit against the Islamic Republic for the man’s disappearance.
The relatives of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared ten years ago during a business trip to the Iranian island of Kish, filed a lawsuit with the US District Court of Washington. The plaintiffs insist that the Iranian government is responsible for Levinson’s kidnapping and imprisonment while Tehran denies these claims.
Mojtaba Jalalzadeh, global politics expert at the Islamic Azad University in Tehran, told Sputnik Persian that this entire case is simply absurd.
"One of the key aspects of this case is the security issue. In 2007 Robert Levinson, who at that time had already retired from the FBI, arrived by himself at the Iranian island of Kish. Later however it became known that he maintained close ties with the FBI and arrived to Iran on a spy mission. The American media wrote a lot about it, and in 2010 these revelations were published by the Associated Press," Jalalzadeh said.
He pointed out that the CIA made at least three attempts to stop AP from uncovering and spreading more information about this investigation, along with trying to silence Levinson’s relatives.
"The CIA tried to suppress the whole affair and even paid $2.5 million in compensation to Levinson’s family as ‘hush money’. As a result, a lot of other details of this case weren’t made public. Essentially, all publicly available information regarding this matter came down to this: during March 2007 Levinson arrived to Iran and went missing after staying at the Maryam Sorinet hotel at the Kish Island for several days," he explained.
During the decade that followed Levinson’s disappearance the US government had accused Iran on numerous occasions of being responsible for this incident, despite the lack of evidence.
"As the former White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, there are no documents proving that Levinson was kidnapped in Iran and is being held there against his will. Furthermore, Earnest said that US intelligence has reasons to believe that Levinson may be located in Pakistan," Jalalzadeh remarked.
Furthermore, despite these accusations Iran actively sought to help search for Levinson to prove that Tehran was not responsible for the former FBI agent’s disappearance. Sadly, this desire was not reciprocated.
"This case may be important for the US because it affects security. For Iran however this is a purely political case. In fact, Levinson’s son was granted special permission by the Iranian authorities to visit the country to take part in the investigation; the Iranians deliberately chose not to attract the attention to the fact that Levinson is a retired FBI agent. Iran was willing to help anyone searching for this man. But a positive response from across the ocean never came," Jalalzadeh said.
By now, he added, Levinson’s case became heavily politicized and contributed to the rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.
"Even the current US President Donald Trump promised during his campaign to handle Levinson’s case investigation. And in spite of how absurd this case looks, he profited from it. Now as we can see, a lawsuit was filed against Iran. Yet in terms of international law this lawsuit is baseless and lacks any evidence (of Iran’s involvement). Though as history tells us, the American courts, especially the District Court of Washington, are quite capable of passing an unjust and inadequate verdict against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Jalalzadeh concluded.