The U.S. State Department says the Iranian government has pledged assistance in attempting to locate a former FBI agent who disappeared in the Islamic republic last month and says it is hopeful the man will be found.
Robert Levinson of Broward County, Fla., a veteran FBI agent, went missing in early March during a trip to the Iranian island of Kish. Levinson reportedly went to the island as a private citizen on behalf of a documentary producer.
Because the United States has no diplomatic relations with Iran, the U.S. State Department officially sought information of Levinson’s whereabouts and status through the Swiss embassy in Tehran. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told ABC News, "The Iranian Foreign Ministry assures us they are trying to locate him."
Last week, Iran’s Press TV reported that Levinson "has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9." But McCormack says there is no solid evidence indicating he has been detained or arrested.
Friends, family and former co-workers are growing increasingly concerned for Levinson’s safety, and the FBI is said to have strong interest in the case.
During his time with the bureau, Levinson was regarded as one of the FBI’s most thorough and aggressive agents. After years of chasing mafia figures in New York, he moved to Miami and was responsible for building intelligence files that helped lead to the prosecution of Colombia’s Medellin Drug Cartel. Later, he led investigations into Russian organized crime and its penetration of American businesses.