Its been ten years since Robert Levinson, retired FBI agent, was taken hostage in Iran. He was 58 years old and working as a private investigator in 2007. Levinson had traveled to Kish Island, Iran, allegedly investigating cigarette smuggling when he disappeared.
Photos emerged in 2011 of Levinson dressed on an orange jumpsuit but Iranian officials have insisted they have no knowledge of him or his whereabouts. The family, however, blames Tehran for his disappearance.
“This is the 40th anniversary of the day in 1979 when 52 Americans were taken hostage and held for 444 days. Bob Levinson has been held more than 10 times longer – for 4624 days,” the family said in a statement to Fox News. “Bob Levinson must come home, and Iran’s hostage-taking as government policy must end.”
The original $1 million reward was increased to $5 million by the FBI in 2015. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program will now be offering an additional $20 million for information leading to the location, recovery, and return of Robert Levinson. This makes a total of $25 million!
On top of the major increase in reward money the Trump administration also slapped new sanctions on officials who are the core supporters of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
“This sends a clear message from our government of how important it is that Bob Levinson be returned to his family and friends who love him,” the Levinson family said in a statement to Fox News. “All the Iranian authorities need to do is send him home.”
“The Trump administration has made clear that the regime in Iran must release all missing and wrongfully detained Americans, including Robert Levinson, Xiyue Wang, Siamak Namazi, and others,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We will not rest until they are reunited with their families.”
The family is confident in Trump’s administration and his commitment to the mission to bring Levinson home.