WASHINGTON — Jewish-American Robert Levinson was not included in a prisoner exchange with Iran.
Iran on Saturday released five Americans it was holding in its prisons or in detention, four of them as part of a prison swap which included the release of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist detained on espionage charges since 2014. In exchange, the United States will drop charges against seven Iranians involved in sanctions violations.
Levinson, 68, of Coral Springs, Florida, has been missing for close to nine years. CNN quoted Levinson’s family as expressing happiness for the other families, but saying it was “devastated” that he was not among those released.
His family has acknowledged in recent years that Levinson, a father of seven, had been working for the CIA in a rogue operation at the time of his disappearance from Iran’s Kish Island. His mission was not authorized by top CIA brass.
Levinson is a private detective and former FBI agent. For years it had been reported that he was working as a private investigator when he disappeared.
Iran denies official involvement in his disappearance and the Washington Post quoted an anonymous US official as saying that as part of the exchange deal, Iran “committed to continue cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson.”