A bipartisan group of nearly twenty U.S. lawmakers today urged President Trump to continue the previous administration’s efforts to locate Bob Levinson, a Florida resident and retired FBI agent who went missing off the coast of Iran over 10 years ago.
In a letter led by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the lawmakers urged the president to “maintain pressure on Iran to see that [Bob] is returned as soon as possible.”
“Bob is still not home, and despite repeated promises, Iran has yet to cooperate in any meaningful way,” the lawmakers wrote. “Iran is responsible – if Iranian officials don’t have Bob, they know where to find him.”
The lawmakers requested that the president “re-engage with Iran and make clear that continued delay in returning Bob … is another obstacle Iran must overcome if it wants to improve relations with the United States.”
They also urged the president to meet with the Levinson family and designate a senior White House official to provide them regular updates on the administration’s efforts to bring Levinson home.
In addition to Nelson, the letter was signed by Sens. Corey Booker (D-NJ), Richard Burr (R-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-22), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ed Royce (CA-39) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).
Below is the full text of the lawmakers’ letter and a PDF can be found here.
July 11, 2017
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write regarding former FBI agent Robert Levinson. Bob, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, was detained in Iran more than ten years ago, making him the longest held civilian in our Nation’s history. He deserves to be reunited with his family immediately.
We appreciate your commitment to Bob and his family. We urge you to meet with Bob’s wife, Christine, and their seven children to hear first-hand their struggle and tireless efforts on Bob’s behalf.
As you know, our Government has long pressed Iran to return Bob. After ten years, Bob is still not home, and despite repeated promises, Iran has yet to cooperate in any meaningful way. Iran is responsible—if Iranian officials don’t have Bob, they know where to find him.
Bob’s return is an urgent humanitarian issue. It is critical that the United States maintain pressure on Iran to see that he is returned as soon as possible. To that end, we request that you re-engage with Iran and make clear that continued delay in returning Bob—in addition to the very serious disagreements the United States has with Iran about its missile program, sponsorship of terrorism, and human rights abuses—is another obstacle Iran must overcome if it wants to improve relations with the United States. We also request that you designate a senior White House official to regularly inform Bob’s family of your Administration’s efforts.
Bob has suffered long enough. We must never rest until he is returned to his family. We owe them nothing less.