Statement from the Levinson Family on the release of Jason Rezaian’s book, Prisoner

Jason Rezaian’s new book, Prisoner, confirms that Robert Levinson, America’s longest-held hostage, was deliberately left out of the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran leading to the release by Iran of 5 hostages in January 2016.  Our father was left behind.

In Prisoner, Mr. Rezaian cites a source in the Iranian Supreme Leader’s office who states that, in discussions with members of the Obama administration, “the issue of Bob Levinson had initially been a point of contention throughout the negotiations (between Iran and the United States).  Initially Levinson—or a complete accounting of what happened to him—was to be a part of the deal, but the Rouhani administration decided there was no political value at that time in acknowledging, after eight years, that, yes, Iran had been responsible for his disappearance.”

This information is unimaginably devastating to our family.  To think that the Obama administration let Iran get away with this, and did not demand this information and the return of our father, is absolutely abhorrent.

We commend Jason Rezaian for sharing his harrowing story and being so transparent about the physical and mental anguish that he faced during his 544 days in an Iranian prison.  As Mr. Rezaian continues to talk about his experience, we can’t help but think about what atrocities that our father, Robert Levinson, has endured over his 11 years in prison in Iran.  This includes possible solitary confinement, nonstop interrogations, physical and emotional mistreatment, and health problems suffered through years of unjust imprisonment.  We believe our father is alive – there is absolutely no evidence to prove otherwise – and, just like Mr. Rezaian, doing everything he can, every single day, to come home to us.

President Trump’s administration, including the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, has told us repeatedly how hard it is working to secure our father’s return home. We begin every day hoping that it will be the day that President Trump will be successful, that the Iranians will find the value in resolving this on humanitarian grounds, and that Bob Levinson will come home and be reunited with us, just as Mr. Rezaian was reunited with his family.

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