Former FBI agent and Jewish American Robert Levinson is believed to have died while in Iranian custody, announced his family in a statement on Wednesday.
“We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody. We don’t know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Levinson’s family, referring to the World Health Organization terminology for the coronavirus outbreak.
Levinson disappeared in 2007 while visiting Iran and working part-time for the CIA.
“It is impossible to describe our pain,” they continued. “Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing man we have ever known—a new reality that is inconceivable to us. His grandchildren will never meet him. They will only know him through the stories we tell them.”
“Those who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, including those in the U.S. government who for many years repeatedly left him behind, will ultimately receive justice for what they have done. We will spend the rest of our lives making sure of this, and the Iranian regime must know we will not be going away. 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 family went on to thank the Trump administration and a number of members of Congress for their efforts to help locate and bring back Levinson to the United States.
“Bob Levinson was a truly remarkable individual—the best husband, father, brother, grandfather and friend anyone could ever ask for. He was an American hero—a true patriot, and his compassion and kindness knew no bounds,” said his family. “We will miss his warmth, humor and wisdom, but most of all, we will miss the deep and unconditional love he had for each one of us. He will never be forgotten; we will make sure of it.”
During the daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump lamented Levinson’s situation, but added, “I won’t accept that he’s dead.”