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Robert A. “Bob” Levinson (born March 10, 1948) is an American private detective and former FBI agent.[1] He disappeared in March 2007 when visiting Iran's Kish Island while apparently researching a cigarette-smuggling case. He had previously worked on an inquiry into the murder of American Paul Klebnikov in Moscow.[2]

The Iranian government has stated that it has no information about the case, but officials from the U.S. State Department have cast doubt on the Iranian government's claims.[3]

On September 5, 2007 Iran blocked a US request to allow Swiss diplomats to go to Kish Island to look for the luggage or other traces of Levinson.[4]

Media reported in August 2007 that Christine Levinson, wife of Robert, was planning a trip to Iran with their oldest son. The Department of State stressed that there was a travel warning to that country and they would be doing so at their own risk.[3] Iran announced on September 23, 2007, that she would be allowed to visit the country.[5]

In December 2007, Christine Levinson and her son traveled to Iran to attempt to learn more about Levinson's disappearance. That trip yielded nothing new.[6] In July 2008, Christine said that she wanted to travel to Iran again soon.[7]

In a recent interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was questioned regarding Levinson's case and its status. He responded:

There was a claim made some time ago, some people came over, the gentleman’s family came over. They talked and met with our officials and were given our responses. I see no reason for a person who was given an Iranian visa and — came into Iran, arrived in Iran through official channels, to have problems here. Our security officials and agents have expressed their willingness to assist the FBI, if the FBI has any information about his travels around the world.

We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter. There are certain information that only FBI at the moment have. I am not an expert in that field, as you might appreciate, so I’m not going to make a judgment here whether that information, as they say, it is true and only held by the FBI or other parties for that matter.[8]

On January 13, 2009, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson revealed during Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing that he believes Robert Levinson is being held in a secret prison in Iran. "The door has been closed at every turn," Nelson said during Clinton's confirmation hearing. "We think he is being held by the government of Iran in a secret prison."[9]

According to the New York Times, Levinson had been meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, (an American convert to Islam wanted for the 1980 murder of an Iranian dissident in the US) "just before he went missing."[10][11]


  1. ^ "Intrigue Surrounds Former FBI Agent Who Disappeared in Iran Two Months Ago". Associated Press. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-05-13.  
  2. ^ Horton, Scott (April 2007). "American FBI Alumnus Goes Missing in Iran". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  3. ^ a b "U.S. woman plans trip to Iran to search for missing former FBI agent husband". International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-02.  
  4. ^ Wright, Robin (September 5, 2007). "Iran Rejects Search for Traces of Ex-FBI Agent, U.S. Says". The Washington Post: p. A14. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  5. ^ "Iran: Missing American's family can visit". CNN. September 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  6. ^ Levinson, Daniel (June 22, 2008). "Missing a Father in Iran". The Washington Post: p. B07. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  7. ^ "Wife of ex-FBI agent to repeat Iran visit in search of her husband". Payvand. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  8. ^ "Transcript: ‘Response ... will be a positive one’" (NBC Nightly News). July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  9. ^,2933,479842,00.html
  10. ^ "Just Another American Hit Man, Actor and Journalist Living in Iran" By Robert Mackey September 16, 2009
  11. ^ Former FBI agent held in Iran: report, Apr 13, 2007

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