“Based on the latest information I received from respected Judiciary officials, Mr [Robert] Levinson has no judicial or criminal case in any of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s courts,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi told a press conference on Sunday.
“We speculate that the reports released on the issue are related to his disappearance. When they asked Iran to help find him, the Islamic Republic naturally opened a disappearance case as a humanitarian issue, as it does on any other people who go missing in Iran,” he added.
“But this case is not criminal or judicial, as some are trying to misrepresent. It’s just the case of a person’s disappearance.”
Mousavi said based on the request submitted to Iran, the Islamic Republic is pursuing the issue with good will and for humanitarian grounds.
“We have already announced a number of times that we don’t have any information about this person’s fate. But if we can do anything to shed light on his condition, wherever he is, we are ready to do so,” he vowed.
“That doesn’t mean he has an open case in Iran. We deal with it just like other disappearance cases, and his name can be among the missing people, which we will do anything we can to find,” Mousavi noted.
NBC News on Saturday cited a filing to the UN’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances as saying, “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.”
Levinson’s family claimed Iran had told both the UN and their lawyer it has an open case “about our husband and father.”
“We welcome Iran’s taking the first step to finally end this nightmare. Now it is time to send him home to us,” the family said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump also reacted to the report on Sunday, urging Iran to “turn over” the missing FBI agent who disappeared during an unauthorized secret mission for the CIA in 2007.
The Trump administration offered a reward this month of up to $20 million for information about Robert Levinson’s disappearance in Iran 12 years ago.
Trump weighed in on Sunday tweeting, “If Iran is able to turn over to the US 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 did not elaborate but he seemed to link Levinson’s case to Iran’s nuclear program.
Trump pulled the US last year unilaterally out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which saw Tehran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.