|Tehran demands explanation about missing CIA agent’s mission in Iran||
TEHRAN – Alireza Miryusefi, the press counselor of the Iranian Mission at the United Nations, has asked the United States to explain the details about the mission of a CIA operative who was reportedly spying on Iran and later went missing.
Last week, an AP investigation revealed that U.S. citizen Robert Levinson had been on an unauthorized assignment for the CIA in Iran before he disappeared in March 2007.
At the time, the United States said that Levinson, a retired FBI agent, had gone missing on Iran’s Kish Island, but Iran says it has no knowledge of such an incident.
In a statement to the AP on Saturday, Miryusefi said, “Actually the American authority should explain about Levinson’s mission in Iranian soil. They are responsible and should respond.”
He insisted that the government in Iran has been cooperating with attempts to learn Levinson’s fate. The Iranian government has been trying “to find any clue about Levinson’s situation for humanitarian and security reasons, but no success,” he said.
“We also provided all possible assistance to his family. Unfortunately this case is another America’s type scandal,” Miryusefi said.
U.S. officials have raised the Levinson case with Iran repeatedly over the years, but until the AP investigation this week it was not known that Levinson was hoping to gather information in his role as an independent contract investigator who expected to be compensated by a group of analysts at the CIA, according to AP.
During one meeting between the U.S. and Iran, the Iranians said they were searching for Levinson and were conducting raids in Baluchistan, a mountainous region that includes parts of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.
In October 2007, Levinson’s lawyer discovered emails in which Levinson tells a friend at the CIA he was working to develop a source with access to the Iranian government. The emails were turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which touched off an internal CIA investigation.
Three veteran analysts were forced out of the CIA and seven others were disciplined as a result of a breach of agency rules.
During an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “We don’t know where he is, who he is,” Rouhani said. “He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”
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