President Donald Trump warned Iran of consequences after news was released that it has an “ongoing” case against Robert Levinson—a former FBI agent who went missing in 2007 in Iran for unknown reasons.
The 71-year-old, was a retired FBI agent when he disappeared from Kish Island, located off the southern coast of Iran on March 9, 2007.
The last time Levinson was seen alive was in a 2011 hostage video, according to The Associated Press.
Iran acknowledged for the first time, on Sunday, that it does in fact have an open case against Levinson.
“According to the last statement of Tehran’s Justice Department, Mr. Robert Alan Levinson has an [ongoing] case in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran,” a copy of the filing obtained by The Associated Press said on Saturday Nov. 9. Iran did not provide additional details on Levinson’s case or his whereabouts.
President Trump said on Sunday in a tweet that Iran would be making a right move if it were to return Levinson to the United States safely, but also alerted the country against enriching uranium.
“If Iran is able to turn over the U.S. kidnapped former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step,” the president tweeted, while warning Iran that “enriching uranium … WOULD BE A VERY BAD STEP!”
The Trump administration is doubling down on its “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran’s “repressive regime” aiming to “achieve its revolutionary agenda through regional aggression while squandering the country’s oil proceeds,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said.
“We are putting governments on notice that they are risking the integrity of their financial systems by continuing to work with the Iranian regime’s arm of terror finance, its Central Bank,” Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said, addressing Iran’s attempts to move the nation’s foreign currency reserves “for terrorist proxies. “We will vigorously enforce our sanctions to cut off the Iranian regime’s funding of global terrorism and its domestic oppression of the Iranian people, who are the regime’s longest suffering victims.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week said in an announcement that the State Department will be offering $20 million more for information leading to Levinson’s location, recovery and safe return—in addition to an existing $5 million reward from the FBI—a $25 million total for the guaranteed safe return of the former FBI official.
“The Trump administration has made clear that the regime in Iran must release all missing and wrongfully detained Americans, including Robert Levinson, Xiyue Wang, Siamak Namazi, and others,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We will not rest until they are reunited with their families.”
If found alive, Levinson would be the longest-held hostage in the history of the United States.