(JTA) — There are no traces in Iran of Robert Levinson, the retired American-Jewish FBI agent who vanished in the country six years ago, according to Iran’s foreign minister.
Javad Zarif made the assertion Sunday on the CBS news show “Face the Nation” two days after the Washington Post reported that Levinson had been working for the CIA in a rogue operation.
The U.S. government has said publicly that Levinson, who left the FBI in 1998, was in Iran on business as a private citizen.
Emails and other documents that surfaced months after Levinson’s disappearance suggest he went to Iran at the direction of CIA analysts who had no authority to run operations overseas, the Washington Post reported.
“What we know is that he is not incarcerated in Iran,” Zarif said, adding, “If he is, he’s not incarcerated by the government, and I believe the government runs the, pretty much, good control of the country.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC’s “This Week” that the United States is working to locate Levinson and is “looking for proof of life,” Reuters reported. The White House continues to maintain that Levinson was not employed by the U.S. government at the time of his disappearance.
Levinson’s family last heard from him when they received an undated photograph in 2011 in which he was seen in chains wearing an orange jumpsuit while holding up a sheet of paper that read: “4TH YEAR … You Cant or you don’t want…?”