Kerry calls for return of American missing in Iran for 7 years


(JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry marked the seventh year since the disappearance of an American Jewish man in Iran with a plea for his safe return.

Robert Levinson, 66, of Coral Springs, Fla., disappeared seven years ago from Kish Island.

Kerry in a statement on Sunday called on the government of Iran to “work cooperatively with us on the investigation into his disappearance so we can ensure his safe return.” The statement said Levinson is one of the longest-held American citizens in history.

Levinson was on a private business trip when he disappeared, Kerry said, though the Washington Post reported in December that he had been working for the CIA in a rogue operation. Levinson, the father of seven children, is a private detective and former FBI agent.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in December that Levinson is not incarcerated in Iran under government auspices.

“The United States remains committed to the safe return of Mr. Levinson to his family,” Kerry said. “We appreciate the support and assistance from our international partners as we work to end this awful separation. Given Mr. Levinson’s health, age, and length of time in captivity, we mark this anniversary with a special sense of urgency.”

The FBI has announced a $1 million reward for any information leading to Levinson’s safe return.

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