This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry says a case has been opened into the disappearance of a former FBI agent who has been missing since visiting Iran in 2007, insisting that it is not a sign the man was being prosecuted.
Robert Levinson “has no judicial or criminal case in any Islamic Republic of Iran court whatsoever,” Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi said on November 10.
“It is normal that a case is opened like it’s done for any missing people anywhere in Iran,” Musavi added.
The United States is offering $25 million for information about Levinson, who disappeared while on a trip to Kish Island in the Persian Gulf on March 9, 2007.
The State Department says Levinson was taken hostage in Iran, while Iranian officials have repeatedly denied knowledge of his disappearance or of his whereabouts.
Tehran only acknowledged its Revolutionary Court had an open case on Levinson in a filing to the United Nations.
The court typically handles cases involving espionage, smuggling, blasphemy, and attempts to overthrow Iran’s Islamic government.