The Trump administration announced sanctions on two Iranian officials for their involvement in the 2007 disappearance and presumed death of the former F.B.I. agent Robert Levinson, the first time the U.S. government has officially implicated Iran’s government in Mr. Levinson’s case.
The Treasury Department said in a statement that it was imposing sanctions on two officials in Iran’s Interior Ministry, Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, who it said were “involved in the abduction, detention and probable death of Mr. Levinson.” U.S. officials said they had obtained new information about their involvement in what they called Mr. Levinson’s abduction, but they would not provide further details.
Mr. Levinson, who would be 72 years old, disappeared under mysterious circumstances off Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007 while on an unauthorized mission for the Central Intelligence Agency. He was last seen alive in a hostage video nearly a decade ago pleading for help and in photographs in which he wore an orange prison jumpsuit. The Iranian government has never admitted a role in his disappearance.
U.S. officials concluded in March that Mr. Levinson had died in Iranian captivity, his family said at the time.
“Robert Levinson will never come home to his family alive because of the cruel, cynical and inhumane actions of the Iranian authorities,” his family said Monday in a statement. “Because of these men and others like them, our wonderful husband, father and grandfather died alone, thousands of miles from everyone he loved. This is just one step in a long road toward achieving justice for him, but it is an important one.”
“No matter how long it takes, we will find the individuals who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, and we will hold them accountable,” the statement added.
Mr. Baseri and Mr. Khazai are unlikely to have significant property or financial interests in the United States, but the new sanctions subject any person or entities worldwide that have dealings with them to American penalties.