Iran: no sign of former FBI agent

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hojjatol-Islam Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie, the intelligence minister of Iran, stated in the report released today that Iran is investigating the disappearance of Robert Levinson, an ex-FBI agent from Florida since his trip to Iran's Kish Island who went missing while in Iran on private business, in March. He is believed to have gone missing several weeks ago on the island of Kish.

Iran has not confirmed the U.S. citizen entered its territory. Nonetheless, the State Department spokesman said, "To the best of our knowledge we have been able to determine that he went (to Iran) ... and we have not seen any evidence that he left." The State Department contacted Iranian authorities regarding the matter from the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi earlier. Later, Iran relayed a reply to the U.S. via the Swiss embassy in Tehran which acts as a go-between since there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On April 3, the FBI said that he has not worked for them in a decade nor is he a contractor for them. A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined to give name, age or occupation of the missing man at the time. The spokesperson also said that they have no indication that he is being held by any Iranian entity.

There were rumors that Iran wanted to swap the former FBI agent for Ali-Reza Askari. Askari, who was a deputy defense minister of Iran, had defected. However, Hujjat al-Islam Mohseni-Ejei denied such stories.