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President Donald Trump on Sunday used Twitter to urge Iran to turn over former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in 2007 on an unauthorized CIA mission.
“If Iran is able to turn over to 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 wrote.
He used the rest of his tweet to return to a recurring theme on Iran: “At the same time, upon information & belief, Iran is, & has been, enriching uranium. THAT WOULD BE A VERY BAD STEP!”
U.S. officials for years said Levinson was working for a private client on his trip to Iran. In December 2013, The Associated Press reported that the ex-agent had actually been on a mission for CIA analysts who had no authority to run spy operations.
Since his disappearance, photos and video of Levinson in an orange jumpsuit emerged in 2010 and 2011. His family is suing Iran in U.S. federal court under the allegation that the Iranian government kidnapped him.
Iran has acknowledged there is an open Revolutionary Court case involving Levinson, but a foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that the case was a “missing person” filing — not a sign that the ex-agent was being prosecuted.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the State Department would offer $20 million on top of a previously posted $5 million reward for information on Levinson’s case.
"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."