Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the retired FBI agent, who went missing in Iran in 2007, is not incarcerated in the country.
“We know that he is not incarcerated in Iran. If he is, he is not incarcerated by the government and I believe the government runs a pretty much good control of the country,” said the Iranian foreign minister on Sunday, referring to Robert Levinson, who disappeared during a visit to Iran’s southern Kish Island in the Persian Gulf in March 2007.
Zarif added that if Iran finds any trace of him, it will then discuss his return.
Earlier in the day, head of the press office of Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York Alireza Miryousefi sent an e-mail to the Associated Press, in which he said the US officials “should explain about Levinson’s mission in Iranian soil. They are responsible and should respond.”
After withholding the story for three years, the AP revealed on December 12 that Levinson had actually been recruited by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to run unauthorized espionage operations.
On Saturday, White House spokesman, Jay Carney, slammed the AP for revealing Levinson’s mission and called the New York-based wire service “highly irresponsible.”
The White House’s displeasure with the disclosure comes as the US State Department always insisted that Levinson was “a private citizen” who had traveled to Kish on “private business.”