The wife of a retired FBI agent missing in Iran for nearly three years is making an impassioned appeal for information about her husband as she prepares for a somber milestone in his disappearance.
Thursday marks the 1,000th day since Robert Levinson went missing on Iran's Kish Island and repeated calls to Iranian authorities about his whereabouts and condition from both the family and the U.S. government have yielded nothing. Now, more than ever, Christine Levinson is desperate to know what happened to him.
"The past 1,000 days have been a nightmare from which my children and I struggle daily to wake," she said. "Bob has missed his own birthday celebrations with us three times. He is 61 now, and we do not even know if he is in good health."
"I am a stay-at-home mother of seven children who wants to find her husband of 35 years and bring him home," she said in a statement made available to The AP on the eve of the anniversary of his disappearance. "My family and I have no interest in any other issue concerning Iran. We are pleading for a humanitarian gesture from those who can help us."
Christine Levinson, of Coral Springs, Fla., plans to meet officials in Washington to discuss the case on Thursday. She has traveled to New York to see Iranian officials and even visited Iran seeking information about her husband. All with no result.
Her comments came as Iran on Wednesday freed five British sailors who it detained a week ago after their racing yacht drifted accidentally into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. Britain said it was delighted with the release and praised Tehran's handling of the incident.
The U.S. government has not had similar success. Appeals for information from the White House and State Department over two administrations have also produced little but Iranian claims to have no knowledge of Levinson and pledges to investigate that appear to have been unfulfilled.
Levinson is one of several American citizens currently missing or detained in Iran, including three young hikers who were arrested near the Iraqi border in July, whose cases have been raised with Iran by U.S. officials either directly or indirectly through Swiss diplomats who represent U.S. interests in Iran.
"We continue to call on Iran to stand by its commitment of providing full details about their investigation both to the Levinson family and to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday.
On the Net:
Help Bob Levinson: http://www.helpboblevinson.com/
Hikers' families' Web site: http://freethehikers.org/