CNN: It has been a year since retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared in Iran, and his family still has no idea where he is. MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — It has been a year since retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared in Iran, and his family still has no idea where he is.
Christine Levinson, his wife of 33 years, and their family and friends staged a “rally of hope” in their South Florida hometown of Coral Springs on Sunday — a day before his 60th birthday.
“The rally of hope is to let everyone know that we have not forgotten Bob, that we will continue to search for him and that we hope that anyone that might have information about him will get in touch with us … and help us bring him home,” Christine Levinson said.
She urged anyone with information to contact the family at www.helpboblevinson.com.
Levinson worked for 30 years for the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and was working as a private investigator at the time of his March 8, 2007, disappearance, the site says.
Levinson was working a cigarette-smuggling case when he flew to Kish in Iran from Dubai, his family said.
“He may have met with someone there and the two may have been abducted and questioned,” the Web site states. “Some reports suggest the other man was released but Levinson was not.”
Levinson was last seen on Kish Island in southern Iran.
Dawud Salahuddin, an American fugitive who lives in Iran, said last year that he met Levinson in a hotel on Kish Island on March 8, 2007.
Salahuddin says the meeting was an effort to put Levinson in touch with Iranian authorities to help the American investigate cigarette smuggling as part of his contract work for a tobacco company.
Known in Iran as Hassan Abdulrahman, Salahuddin is not believed to be a credible source of information about Levinson, senior U.S. administration officials have said.
Salahuddin was given refuge in Iran after admitting to killing a former pro-Western Iranian diplomat in Maryland in July 1980. He was on assignment from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s new regime when he killed Ali Akbar Tabatabai at his residence in Bethesda, according to Time magazine.
Shortly after admitting the killing in a 1995 interview with a reporter for the National Security News Agency, Salahuddin began working as a journalist for the Iranian government’s news agency in Tehran in 1980. According to Time, Salahuddin was in Afghanistan during much of the mid- to late ’80s, fighting Soviet forces with mujahedeen fighters.
Salahuddin has repeatedly expressed a desire to return to the United States.
Salahuddin’s account of his meeting with Levinson is that he was seized by plainclothes Iranian officials, who took him away from the room he shared with Levinson to question him about his Iranian passport.
When he was freed the following day, he said, he was told by officials that Levinson had returned to Dubai.
Christine Levinson said a man purporting to be Salahuddin called her “right when he disappeared” and told her that he would be home in a few days.
Last week, the former agent’s wife met with State Department officials. She said she is “happy to hear they’re pushing Iran for more information.”
In December, Christine Levinson traveled to Iran to seek information about her husband’s disappearance and pressure the government on his case. While the Iranian government was polite and guaranteed the security of her family during their trip, she said, they provided no details on his whereabouts.
In February she hired an Iranian lawyer to “make sure the Iranian government does not forget about Bob.”
“I know that [the attorney”> can file the papers necessary to report that he’s missing,” she said, referring to her attorney. “And he can ask them to do things and go with them to look in prisons and jails.
“Whatever might be necessary.”
The State Department has sent several letters to the Iranian government seeking information about Levinson. The Iranian government continues to maintain it has no information about him.
Speaking last week at a daily briefing, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the United States is “baffled by the lack of support” from Iran on trying to locate Levinson.
“This isn’t a political issue; this is an issue about an individual … who went missing from Iran, a place where there are very close tabs kept on foreigners, and in a situation in which we certainly have concerns that a year has gone by and we have not heard from him,” he said.
The United States has no diplomatic ties with Iran but sends messages through the Swiss Embassy. The United States will “continue to push them, but unfortunately, they hold the key here,” Casey said.
Senior administration officials have said they suspect Iranian authorities seized Levinson, although they have no proof.
Levinson’s family, friends and supporters wore yellow ribbons and signed a petition Sunday that will be sent to Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appealing for the Iranian leader to help find Levinson.
Christine Levinson said she and the couple’s seven children have not lost hope, despite not knowing anything more about his whereabouts than they did a year ago.
“Each day, I get up and hope today will be the day that I’ll bring him home,” she said. “And if that doesn’t happen and if I haven’t gotten a phone call, I focus on what I’m going to do next to find him.”