|Missing FBI agent not held in Iran: Zarif||
TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the retired FBI agent, who reportedly went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago, is not being held by the country, and emphasized that Tehran has no traces of him.
“I have no idea” where he is, Zarif told CBS News’ Elizabeth Palmer in an interview from Tehran. “What we know is that he is not incarcerated in Iran,” he said, unless Levinson was incarcerated by someone other than the government.
If he were ever found, Zarif said the Iranians “will certainly discuss” whether they would return him to the U.S.
“Everything’s possible, but I’m saying that we have no traces of him in Iran,” he said.
The Associated Press reported last week that Levinson was working for the CIA and that he was on an unauthorized mission on the Iranian Kish Island in 2007.
A team of CIA analysts -- with no authority to run spy operations – paid Levinson to gather intelligence from some corners of the world.
The CIA was slow to respond to Levinson’s disappearance and spent the first several months denying any involvement. When Congress eventually discovered what happened, one of the biggest scandals in recent CIA history erupted, according to Fox News.
According to AP, the CIA paid Levinson’s family $2.5 million to pre-empt a revealing lawsuit.
U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry acknowledged the lack of progress in finding Levinson, according to Fox News.
“There hasn’t been progress in the sense that we don’t have him back,” he said. “We’re looking for proof of life. We’re working on several processes that I’m not free to talk about. But there are a number of different channels that are being worked aggressively. … I can’t tell you what happened or how the sequence was.”
On Saturday, Alireza Miryusefi, the press counselor of the Iranian Mission at the United Nations, asked the United States to explain the details about Levinson’s mission in Iran.
‘Nuclear talks are derailed, not dead’
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif spoke about the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers and said negotiations are not dead even though Iran is angry about a fresh round of sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department.
“That was a very wrong move,” Zarif said.
He added that he was “saddened” by the move but that he is committed to the short-term deal meant to allow for a longer, six-month period of negotiations.
“We are committed to the plan of action and the implementation of Geneva - but we believe it takes two to tango,” Zarif said.
“The process has been derailed, the process has not died,” he added later. “We are trying to put it back and to correct the path, and continue the negotiations because I believe there is a lot at stake for everybody.”
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|Last Updated on 16 December 2013 17:06|