Statement from Christine Levinson on the 9th Anniversary of the Kidnapping of Robert Levinson

Statement from Christine Levinson, Bob’s wife, on the 9th anniversary of Bob being taken in Iran:

 

A few days ago, hundreds of people from around the country came together with our family in Florida to demand “Where is Bob Levinson?”  and ask how it is possible that, 9 years after being taken hostage in Iran, this wonderful man is still not home.  My children and I ask those same questions every day.

 

These past 9 years – 3, 288 days – have been harder for our family than anyone could ever imagine.  But, as difficult as it has been for us, we know that Bob is living a nightmare that is 100 times worse.  We need the United States government and the country of Iran to work together to resolve what happened to Bob and return him safely to his family.

 

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Representative Ted Deutch Speaking to the House of Representatives for Bob Levinson’s Resolution

https://www.facebook.com/CongressmanTedDeutch/videos/1117733144928194/

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S. RES. 99

114th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. RES. 99

Calling on the Government of Iran to follow through on repeated promises of assistance in the case of Robert Levinson, the longest held United States civilian in our Nation’s history.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

 

Mr. NELSON (for himself and Mr. RUBIO) submitted the following resolution:

 

RESOLUTION

 

Calling on the Government of Iran to follow through on repeated promises of assistance in the case of Robert Levinson, the longest held United States civilian in our Nation’s history.

 

Whereas United States citizen Robert Levinson is a retired agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a resident of Coral Springs, Florida, the husband of Christine Levinson, and father of their seven children;

 

Whereas Robert Levinson traveled from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Kish Island, Iran, on March 8, 2007;

 

Whereas, after traveling to Kish Island and checking into the Hotel Maryam, Robert Levinson disappeared on March 9, 2007;

 

Whereas, in December 2007, Robert Levinson’s wife, Christine, traveled to Kish Island to retrace Mr. Levinson’s steps and met with officials of the Government of Iran who pledged to help in the investigation;

 

Whereas, for more than eight years, the United States Government has continually pressed the Government of Iran to provide any information on the whereabouts of Robert Levinson and to help ensure his prompt and safe return to his family;

 

Whereas officials of the Government of Iran promised their continued assistance to the relatives of Robert Levinson during the visit of the family to the Islamic Republic of Iran in December 2007;

 

Whereas, in November 2010, the Levinson family received a video of Mr. Levinson in captivity, representing the first proof of life since his disappearance and providing some initial indications that he was being held somewhere in southwest Asia;

 

Whereas, in April 2011, the Levinson family received a series of pictures of Mr. Levinson, which provided further indications that he was being held somewhere in southwest Asia;

 

Whereas Secretary of State John Kerry stated on August 28, 2013, “The United States respectfully asks the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to work cooperatively with us in our efforts to help U.S. citizen Robert Levinson.”;

 

Whereas, on September 28, 2013, during the first direct phone conversation between the heads of government of the United States and Iran since 1979, President Barack Obama raised the case of Robert Levinson to President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and urged the President of Iran to help locate Mr. Levinson and reunite him with his family;

 

Whereas, on August 29, 2014, Secretary of State Kerry again stated that the United States “respectfully request the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran work cooperatively with us to find Mr. Levinson and bring him home”;

 

Whereas, on July 14, 2015, the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany, and Iran agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action;

 

Whereas, on January 16, 2016, the Government of Iran released five Americans detained in Iran, Jason Rezaian of California, Saeed Abedini of Idaho, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati of Michigan, Matthew Trevithick of Massachusetts, and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari;

 

Whereas, on January 17, 2016, President Obama stated `even as we rejoice in the safe return of others, we will never forget about Bob,’ referring to Robert Levinson, and that `each and every day but especially today our hearts are with the Levinson family and we will never rest until their family is whole again.’;

 

Whereas, on January 19, 2016, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated that the United States Government had `secured a commitment from the Iranians to use the channel that has now been opened to secure the release of those individuals that we know were being held by Iran…to try and gather information about Mr. Levinson’s possible whereabouts’;

 

Whereas, on November 26, 2013, became the longest held United States civilian in our Nation’s history; and

 

Whereas the Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced a $5,000,000 reward for information leading to Mr. Levinson’s safe return: Now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved, That the Senate—

 

(1) recognizes that Robert Levinson is the longest held United States civilian in our Nation’s history;

 

(2) notes the repeated pledges by and renewed commitment of officials of the Government of Iran to provide their Government’s assistance in the case of Robert Levinson;

 

(3) urges the Government of Iran, as a humanitarian gesture, to act on its promises to assist in the case of Robert Levinson and to immediately provide all available information from all entities of the Government of Iran regarding the disappearance of Robert Levinson to the United States Government;

 

(4) urges the President and the allies of the United States to continue to raise with officials of the Government of Iran the case of Robert Levinson at every opportunity, notwithstanding ongoing and serious disagreements the United States Government has with the Government of Iran on a broad array of issues, including Iran’s ballistic missile program, sponsorship of international terrorism, and human rights abuses; and

 

(5) expresses sympathy to the family of Robert Levinson for their anguish and expresses hope that their ordeal can be brought to an end in the near future.

 

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Contact Information for the Levinson Family

If you have any tips, leads, or information regarding Robert (Bob) Levinson, please contact our family at helpboblevinson@gmail.com.

Thank you for all of your support.

The Levinson Family

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Excerpt from President Obama’s speech today

“Meanwhile Iran has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate Robert Levinson, missing from Iran for more than 8 years. Even as we rejoice in the safe return for others we will never forget about Bob. Each and every day and especially today our hearts are with the Levinson family. We will not rest until their family is whole again.”

We truly hope that he keeps his word. Our family needs to be whole again.

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Statement from the Levinson Family

We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind. We are devastated.

#WhatAboutBob

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My father’s continued captivity proves the nuclear deal has not made Iran safe

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/my-fathers-continued-captivity-proves-the-nuclear-deal-has-not-made-iran-safe/2015/12/20/a092550a-a441-11e5-ad3f-991ce3374e23_story.html

By Daniel Levinson

Daniel Levinson and his family run the website helpboblevinson.com and the Facebook page facebook.com/helpboblevinson.

American and European companies are drafting plans to begin doing business in Iran with the lifting of sanctions as part of this summer’s nuclear-weapons agreement, and Westerners are planning visits to the country. My family and I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous traveling to Iran remains.

It is widely known that my father, Robert Levinson, was detained on Iran’s Kish Island on March 9, 2007. Iranian state media even reported as much at the time, though Tehran now denies knowledge of his whereabouts. Iran is holding four other U.S. citizens, including Post reporter Jason Rezaian. It temporarily detained 15 members of the British navy two weeks after my father’s detention and several U.S. and European citizens in the years since. Any foreign national considering a trip to Iranian-controlled territory risks arbitrary detention, potentially without access to any basic human rights or their loved ones for years to come. This is what happened to my father.

My mother, my aunt and I went to Iran in late 2007 to retrace my father’s footsteps and meet with officials. We were treated well, and I was struck by the kindness of ordinary Iranians, their sympathy for our situation and the beauty of the country. I would love to return after my father’s case is resolved to see more of what Iran has to offer, but I couldn’t imagine doing so for “fun” anytime soon. We urge everyone to think twice before traveling there.

My family has always advocated maintaining an open line of communication between Washington and Tehran, as we believe it can pave the way to improved relations and progress on key issues. We were optimistic about President Obama’s pursuit of direct talks with Iranian officials. In particular, we saw the nuclear talks as a golden opportunity to resolve my father’s case, so long as both sides were willing to negotiate. However, we were devastated that he was not released in the aftermath of the accord. Now we fear that the United States has squandered its best opportunity for leverage in ensuring my father’s safe return home.

Of course, the Iranian government is ultimately responsible for my father’s suffering. If the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said four words — “Send Robert Levinson home” — this nightmare would end. But as is the case in matters of diplomacy, we can’t simply rely on Tehran’s goodwill to magically release him; there must be negotiations — give and take. Merely mentioning to Iranian officials that we would like some help in locating him — the official U.S. line for years now — won’t cut it. While Iran has an enormous opportunity to open a new chapter in its relationship with the United States and the world, it is unlikely to do so without incentives.

Shortly after the nuclear deal was reached this summer, CBS News’s Major Garrett asked Obama why my father and the other Americans weren’t included in the deal. It was a fair question, but the ensuing media storm about the exchange focused on Garrett’s phrasing and the president’s response to that, rather than on the issue itself.

Garrett explained in a follow-up interview, “In the final hours of this deal, the Iranians put other things on the table that hadn’t been previously discussed: the arms embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. If those could be introduced, it seems to me it’s reasonable to ask the commander-in-chief if other issues on the American side could have been introduced.”

Obama insisted then he was not “content” as he “celebrate[s] with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails.” Yet in October, Roll Call reported, “Democrats threw a party to celebrate formal adoption of the Iran nuclear deal,” with several White House officials attending.

There should be no celebrating. My father and four other Americans are still there, lost in the misguided euphoria over the nuclear deal. Their plights must never be forgotten, and officials have a responsibility to take immediate action to bring them home.

At the same time, Iran should know that the release of my father and the other Americans would be an opportunity to reassure potential foreign partners — both governments and private enterprises — that the country is a welcoming and safe place for their citizens and employees to work.

A retired FBI agent and CIA contractor, my father spent over three decades of his life serving the United States: taking on organized-crime families in New York, keeping drugs off our streets and preventing the spread of the Russian mafia to our shores, among other accomplishments in his heroic career. He has languished in isolation for almost nine years, living a nightmare away from everyone he knows and loves. The United States cannot leave one of its own behind, especially after he has given so much to this country.

 

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“It’s All We Think About, What Are the Next Steps to Get Him Home,” Say Children of Iran Hostage Bob Levinson

http://www.people.com/article/hostage-bob-levinson-children-talk-fathers-captivity-iran-deal

People Exclusive

‘It’s All We Think About, What Are the Next Steps to Get Him Home,’ Say Children of Iran Hostage Bob Levinson'It's All We Think About, What Are the Next Steps to Get Him Home,' Say Children of Iran Hostage Bob Levinson

The Levinson family
COURTESY LEVINSON FAMILY

BY SHEILA COSGROVE BAYLIS

@sheilabot07/25/2015 AT 12:10 PM EDT

It’s been eight years since Robert Levinson was kidnapped in Iran, but his seven children hope a new nuclear agreement with the country will pave his way home.

Levinson, a retired FBI agent and reported contract worker for the CIA, now 67, known to friends and family as “Bob,” has been held longer than any other hostage in U.S. history. Last week, when the Obama administration struck a deal with the Iranian government, but did not secure his return home, the case moved back into the spotlight.

“What our family believes is that this deal represents not the end of discussions between the U.S. government and the Iranian government, but merely the beginning. As long as the two countries are in dialogue … we know that my father’s case can be resolved,” his son David Levinson says. “[The U.S. and Iran] are more engaged now than they have been in many, many years and we believe that right now is the time that my father’s case can be prioritized, resolved and he can be brought home.”

Bob’s kids responded to the Iran deal with resolve instead of anger, a trait his daughter Stephanie, 37, a stay-at-home mom in Fort Worth, Texas, says she learned from her father. Stephanie sat down with PEOPLE and her six siblings – Susan, Sarah, Dan, David, Samantha and Doug – for the first time to talk together publicly about their dad.

'It's All We Think About, What Are the Next Steps to Get Him Home,' Say Children of Iran Hostage Bob Levinson| politics, Real People Stories

The Levinson Family

COURTESY LEVINSON FAMILY

“He taught us to never give up, to have strength, to have faith. And I think all of us, we get through each day knowing that our dad is waiting for us. Waiting to be reunited,” Stephanie says. “And he has the strength to keep going. We go down to his belief that, I guess, miracles can happen.”

The Levinson siblings talk to their own children regularly about Grandpa Bob, and make his presence felt by singing a song he dubbed “The Baby Song” – his own lyrics grafted over the Armor hot dog jingle. “Our father sang it to each one of us. It was a constant refrain in our house,” Stephanie says, adding that her son with autism is comforted by the family tune. “A 67-year-old man should spend his days with his grandbabies around him and singing ‘The Baby Song,’ not in captivity,” she says.

The family’s current hope is that Bob will make it to David’s wedding in October. “Just the other day, my fiancée showed me and Dan that she bought my dad’s tie for him, fully expecting him to be returning home and that he’ll be joining us for our wedding. She’s going through wedding planning assuming he’s going to be there,” David, 28 says. “I would love if my dad was front and center for the ceremony, but what’s more important is that he meets my fiancée some day.”

'It's All We Think About, What Are the Next Steps to Get Him Home,' Say Children of Iran Hostage Bob Levinson| politics, Real People Stories

Sarah Moriarty

COURTESY LEVINSON FAMILY

“It’s all we think about, what are the next steps to get him home,” Dan Levinson, 30, a financial analyst in Coral Springs, Florida, tells PEOPLE. “We’re not focused on the question of whether he’s still alive, we’re focused on how do we bring him home.”

“People Told Us He Was Dead … He Proved How Resilient He Was”
All seven of Bob’s children say they believe he’s still alive, despite no proof of life since 2011, when they were sent photos of Levinson looking frail in an orange jumpsuit.

“Before the hostage video came out in 2010 and the photos came out in 2011, a lot of people told us that he was dead and that we needed to move on. That there’s no way he could have survived to that point,” David says. “But what was heartening about the video and the photos is my dad proved how resilient he was to the entire world. Who’s to say that he hasn’t been able to do that over the past several years. We believe that as long as his physical needs are being met, that his will and stamina and resolve are what will get him through every single day.”

'It's All We Think About, What Are the Next Steps to Get Him Home,' Say Children of Iran Hostage Bob Levinson| politics, Real People Stories

The Levinson family

COURTESY LEVINSON FAMILY

Despite the Levinson family’s relentless optimism, Sarah Moriarty admits she and her siblings sometimes feel overwhelmed. “It’s been really hard. There’s been times that I’ve had siblings call me up at 2 o’clock in the morning crying, or I myself have called at 2 o’clock in the morning crying … there’s seven of us and it’s always on all of our minds,” Sarah, 35, a Vice President at a global investment bank, says. “We get strong for each other. If one of us is having a tough day, the other one gets strong and finds positivity.”

“He’s Missed So Much”
“It’s been a nightmare,” says David. “He’s missed so much.” The siblings and their mother, Christine, 64, help each other through holidays, birthdays, weddings and even births without their father. He hasn’t met five of his six grandchildren. Susan Boothe, the oldest at 38, says she named her son after the grandfather he has never met. “I always wanted to name my son after my dad, not because of [the kidnapping], but because growing up I always knew how special my dad is,” she says.

“My son was 5 months old when our dad was kidnapped,” Stephanie adds. “My son developed autism and he’s not able to speak. We weren’t really sure how much he understood. How much he comprehended. He can spell with a letterboard. Some of the things he said with the letterboard is ‘I know in my heart how much my mom misses her dad.’ “

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I Know Iran Will Find My Father

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-moriarty/i-know-iran-will-find-my-father_b_7828446.html

I Know Iran Will Find My Father

By Sarah Moriarty, wife, mother, financial services employee, and advocate for her father, Bob Levinson, the longest held hostage in U.S. history.
Posted: Updated: 
SARAH MORIARTY

My father loves to play chess. Growing up as one of seven children, I would take any opportunity I had for quality time with him, which often meant battling him in an epic chess match. I loved it, but I hated it. I would get frustrated, feel I was not good enough, and usually want to stop early. But Dad would gently push me to not give up, to see through on my promise to play with him.

I learned many life lessons from my dad over those games of chess, but looking back now, the most important were in knowing when the time was right to make a move and in seeing a challenge through to the end. These lessons came rushing back to mind this past week as the United States and several world powers reached an historic agreement with Iran to curb their country’s nuclear program.

While my father, Bob Levinson, and three other Americans held in Iran were not part of the nuclear deal, my family is more confident than ever that we will soon see their release. We are optimistic that the Iranian government will deliver on their promise to help find my father and send him home to show America, and the world, that they are serious about their peaceful intentions.

My father is the longest held hostage in American history, after disappearing from Kish Island, Iran, eight years ago. He is 67 years old and suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes. Not a day goes by where we are not worried about his health and well being. Bob Levinson has been lingering in captivity for 3,054 days, with absolutely no contact with anyone he knows and loves. While we know in our hearts our father is still alive, we often find ourselves fearing how long someone can go on under those circumstances. How much pain can one person possibly bear?

2015-07-19-1437336983-2218815-image2.JPG

Our family has no further information from my father’s captors since receiving emails of a hostage video and photographs over four years ago. Nor has anyone stepped forward with compelling information to claim the FBI’s five million dollar reward.

Where is Bob Levinson? What do we have to do to get him home? Who can help us?

Only Iran can help us uncover the answer to these questions. My father disappeared on Iranian soil and the Iranian government has a moral obligation to find him. We are ever hopeful that Iran will work with counterparts in the United States and ramp up efforts to do this immediately. What better way to show naysayers that their government says what it means? What better way to build good faith than in finding Bob Levinson and bringing him home to his family? Given the unprecedented nuclear agreement last week, the time is right for Iran to prove they can deliver on their promises.

There is no doubt in my mind that my father is alive, fighting every day to find his way home. You can hear the resolve in his voice in the video we received in late 2010. You can see the fortitude in his eyes in the pictures from early 2011.

To know Bob Levinson is to know his strength, his determination and his drive — to know his deep, unwavering love for my mother and for all my family. He will not go silently into the night. Bob Levinson is as determined to get home as we are to get him home. But we need Iran’s help.

While last week’s deal was a starting point, we have not yet fully turned the page with Iran until we have resolution of my dad’s case and that of the three other Americans held. My family has watched intently as our country went from absolutely no relations with Iran to this very promising open and direct dialogue. We truly believe this is the beginning of more fruitful discussions to come, and that it will unlock any remaining challenges our countries have in order to get my father home.

As long as our two governments are speaking, we believe our father will be home to us soon. We know Iran can help us find the answers, and the past few months have proven how closely our two countries are willing to work together to resolve issues. Bob Levinson is no less important.

As my father taught me in those early chess games, we will not give up. We know the time is right to act. We humbly ask Iran to deliver on their promise by helping bring my father home. It’s their move now.

 

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Dad, I know you’ll make it home

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/opinions/levinson-fathers-day-hope/index.html

By David Levinson

Updated 7:06 PM ET, Fri June 19, 2015

Son of American detainee in Iran pleas for release

Son of American detainee in Iran pleas for release 02:47

Story highlights

  • Bob Levinson has been missing since 2007
  • David Levinson: I know one day we will see each other again

David Levinson, is one of Bob and Christine Levinson’s seven children. Bob Levinson was detained while visiting Kish Island, Iran, in March 2007. The views expressed are David’s own.

(CNN)About 10 years ago, as a college freshman in an Atlanta university and 600 miles from home, I was in trouble. For the first time in my life, I was stuck in a deep depression, due both to academic struggles and personal relationships. I hadn’t developed any friendships, was cut from a number of activities I hoped to be involved with, and, of course, I was homesick.

I remember the voice message I left for my Dad, telling him I hated it. I hated school, I hated the challenge, and I hated life. I told him I was scared — fearful that I had made the wrong choice of schools; that my life was now heading on a downward spiral that I could no longer control.

I expected a follow-up call. Maybe even a care package. Instead, the next day, my father showed up at my college dormitory, uncharacteristically driving a rented, flashy two-door sports car.

David Levinson

David Levinson

“Hey Davey,” he said as he picked me up. “Like my ‘ride’?”

I laughed, and told him he might as well have been wearing a Superman cape. I needed him that day, more than I think even he knew. We spent the day together and he bought me lunch and some much-needed groceries. But his biggest contributions that day were his listening skills and his advice.

“This is a phase,” he said. “A tough phase of life. It will pass. And you will be stronger from it.”

A little over a year later, my father disappeared. While traveling on Kish Island, Iran, he was detained and lost all communication with my family. Although we haven’t been able to speak to him since March of 2007, we have been a witness to his suffering. Several years ago, we received a video of him, looking broken and beaten, pleading for help from the United States government.

Less than a year later, we received photos of him in an orange jumpsuit, holding up messagesmocking our helpless attempts to return him home. When I first saw these photos, I realized how unrecognizable my father had become; that same confident, smiling man who I shared lunch with that day 10 years ago had been transformed completely. It was clear that on a daily level, he has been living through hell.

A few weeks ago, my brother, Dan, spoke in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,imploring them to do everything they could to help our Dad, especially as negotiations remain ongoing for a nuclear deal between the United States and Iran.

“Crunch time,” my brother called it. I couldn’t agree more, but for some additional reasons. This October, I’ll become the first of my father’s three sons to get married, as I’ve found a partner who I can only describe as the woman of my dreams.

It would be amazing to have my father front and center for the ceremony, as he has already missed walking two of my sisters down the aisle for their weddings. But most of all, I just want him to be able to meet my fiancee. I know he would love her, that he would see how much I love her, and that he would share a few words of advice to guide me through the nerves of wedding preparation.

I believe in my father, and I know how determined he is to get home. There is no doubt in my mind that one day he will succeed, that one day we will see each other again and he will meet my future wife. She is hopeful for that day as well, and longs to meet the man I am constantly trying to emulate each day.

In the meantime, on this Father’s Day, just like every Father’s Day for the past eight years, I’ll relive that day in Atlanta and reflect on how lucky I have been to know my father, how fortunate I have been to learn from him, and how proud I am to be his son. I don’t need him to throw on a Superman cape or drive a fancy sports car to my wedding in October — just being there will be heroic enough.

Until that day, here’s wishing you a Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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