(WASHINGTON) — The wife of a retired FBI agent who was kidnapped in Iran six years ago said Monday she will hold Iran to its promise to help find her husband.
“I hope that they do it as quickly as possible,” Christine Levinson, wife of longtime FBI veteran Robert Levinson, told ABC News Monday. “We continue to be extremely worried about Bob, particularly his health. He is 65 years old….His birthday was yesterday.”
Christine Levinson spoke in reference to comments reportedly made Monday by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in which he said his country will help find out what happened to the ex-FBI agent.
Robert Levinson worked for the FBI for more than two decades until he retired in 1998. He was traveling as a private businessman when he disappeared on Iran’s Kish island March 9, 2007.
The first public sign of life from Levinson, who has diabetes, came in a hostage video posted on the Internet a little over a year ago.
“Please help me get home,” says Levinson in the video. “Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me.”
In January the family released a series of pictures of Levinson they received from his captors in 2011. This time the 64-year-old appeared haggard in an orange mock-prison uniform with a long gray beard and chains over his shoulders. There were five different photos, each staged with a different message by his captors. In each he holds a sign, one of which reads, “Help me.”
The U.S. government has for years been pressing Iran to help find Levinson, and Salehi’s comments are not the first from a high-level Iranian official to pledge to do just that.
“We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter,” Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC News in 2008.
But in the five years since Ahmadinejad’s promise, not only has Robert Levinson not been found, but Christine Levinson said Iran has not shared the results of their own investigation into the matter. Christine met with U.S. officials from the State Department and FBI Friday but said there is “no new information” in the case.
In his statement Monday, Salehi also repeated previous claims by Iranian officials that there was no evidence Robert Levinson is being held in Iran. Christine said she doesn’t know where her husband is now, but she believes the Iranian government does.
As to whether she believes the Iranian government really plans to help find her husband, Christine told ABC News, “I am always hopeful.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN