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

Rep. Deutch on his Resolution on Bob Levinson

Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed my resolution urging our government and our allies to work tirelessly to bring Bob Levinson home to his family and home to our South Florida community. I told everyone who was watching to use social media (#WhatAboutBob) to talk about Bob and to stand with Bob's family and the U.S. Congress in telling Iran that we will not rest until the Levinson family is made whole again. Bob is the longest-held hostage in America's history. As we mark nine years since he was abducted in Iran, our community stands together, and this Saturday at 2 pm, we will stand as one at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts.Here's my plea to my colleagues:

Posted by Congressman Ted Deutch on Monday, February 29, 2016

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.

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.

#‎WhatAboutBob‬

Media Coverage of Dan Levinson’s Testimony During the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 2, 2015

Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/families-of-americans-held-in-iranian-prisons-to-testify-on-capitol-hill/2015/06/02/c456b588-092a-11e5-95fd-d580f1c5d44e_story.html

Sun Sentinel:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/coral-springs/daniel-levinson-will-urge-congress-on-tuesday-to-pressure-iran-to-divulge-inform-20150602-story.html

New Day – CNN

http://goo.gl/GnXQHZ

Associated Press (via U.S. News & World Report online):

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/06/02/relatives-of-4-americans-in-iran-press-for-their-release

Bloomberg:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-02/families-of-u-s-prisoners-in-iran-say-nuclear-talks-pivotal

Agence France Presse (via Yahoo! News)

http://news.yahoo.com/us-lawmakers-urge-iran-free-detained-americans-173746879.html

NY Daily News:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/families-4-americans-held-iran-urge-congress-article-1.2243639

ABC News online:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/families-americans-held-iran-push-lawmakers-results/story?id=31463163

Fox News.com:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/06/02/families-four-americans-held-captive-in-iran-unite-urge-congress-to-bring-loved-ones-home.html

Politico:

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/amir-hekmati-relatives-plea-for-help-118543.html

Detroit Free Press:

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/06/02/hekmati-resolution-considered/28352293/

Christian Daily:

http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/4041/20150601/prayer-vigil-behalf-pastor-saeed-abedini-take-place-washington-d.htm

Video of Dan Levinson’s Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Thank you to all of you who watched or supported Dan’s testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this morning, and thank you to the committee for the opportunity to tell our father’s and our family’s story.

For those unable to watch earlier, the archive video is already available. If you would like to just watch Dan’s testimony, you can skip to 1:06:38, and there are also a few key answers he made to questions at approximately 1:24 and 1:28.

Thank you so much again for supporting our family as we continue to fight to bring our father, Bob Levinson, home to us.

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/hearing-americans-detained-iran

Reward Increased to $5 Million in Robert Levinson Case

http://www.fbi.gov/news/news_blog/reward-increased-to-5-million-in-robert-levinson-case

Reward Increased to $5 Million in Robert Levinson Case

Robert Levinson went missing from Kish Island, Iran, on March 9, 2007.

On March 9, 2007, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson went missing from Kish Island, Iran, and today, on the eighth anniversary of his disappearance, the FBI has increased its reward to up to $5 million for information leading directly to his safe location, recovery, and return. Levinson, who will turn 67 tomorrow, is now one of the longest-held American hostages in history.

“Today we mark eight years since Bob disappeared in Iran, and we are increasing the reward for his location and safe return to his family,” said FBI Director James B. Comey. “We ask anyone with information to contact the FBI. It is long past time for Bob to come home.”

Anyone with information regarding Levinson or his captors is encouraged to contact the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov. Information will be kept confidential and can be provided anonymously.

State Dept. calls on Iran to release American prisoners

Found here: http://bit.ly/1otdFZ8

By Phillip Swarts – The Washington Times – Friday, August 29, 2014

Marking the three-year anniversary of the arrest of a U.S. citizen in Iran, the State Department called upon the Islamic government to release all Americans detained by the nation.

“The United States remains committed to returning all of them to their families, friends and loved ones,” the agency said in a press release.

Friday marks the third anniversary since Amir Hekmati was arrested on espionage charges. The U.S. government has stated that the charges are false and that Mr. Hekmati traveled to Iran to visit family.

The agency also called for the release of Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor supposedly arrested due to his religious beliefs; and Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter. Mr. Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, is a writer for a Middle Eastern paper and is also being held.

U.S. official: Obama, Rouhani discussed fate of three Americans

This news makes us extremely hopeful that President Rouhani will help us to find our father and once and for all bring him home.
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/28/us/iran-detained-americans/?hpt=hp_t2
By Susan Candiotti, CNN National Correspondent
September 28, 2013
(CNN) — The fate of three U.S. citizens who have disappeared or been imprisoned in Iran was discussed during …Friday’s historic conversation between the two nations’ presidents, a senior U.S. administration official said.
U.S. President Barack Obama, during his phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, “noted our concern about three American citizens who have been held within Iran — Robert Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati — and noted our interest in seeing those Americans reunited with their families,” the official said.
Two of the Americans have been tried and convicted in Iranian courts, and the whereabouts of another have been unknown for more than six years.
Here are the most recent developments in the stories of the detained U.S. citizens:
Bob Levinson The family of Levinson, a retired FBI agent, has been anxiously waiting for news, any news, about his fate since he vanished during a business trip to Iran in March 2007.
When Rouhani, Iran’s new president, arrived in New York, Levinson’s wife and children were watching closely for a sign that efforts to find Levinson might move forward.
During an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Rouhani offered little when asked what he can tell Levinson’s family.
“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.”
Yet, like former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani spoke of cooperation.
“We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts,” Rouhani told Amanpour. “And we’re willing to cooperate on that.”
The State Department has said Levinson is believed to be held in southwest Asia.
“We have every reason to believe that he’s alive and that the Iranians control his fate,” a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN, a departure from last year when the same source described Levinson as “alive and well.”
Questions about his health also remain unanswered. Levinson suffers from diabetes.
Levinson’s family said Rouhani’s comments, while not directly acknowledging information about Levinson, “are consistent with the commitments made in the past, and [they hope] those promises turn into results.”
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the State Department said Rouhani’s comments about cooperation were welcome. “We look forward to hearing more specifics on how Iran can help in reuniting Mr. Levinson with his family in the United States as soon as possible.”
Both the State Department and Levinson’s family deny he was working for the government when he disappeared. The family says Levinson was there on private business investigating cigarette smuggling.
In January, the family released so-called “proof of life photos” they received a few years ago. The photos show him with long, unkempt hair and wearing an orange shirt. He is holding signs written in poor English, including one that reads. ” Why you can not help me?”
An FBI task force meets regularly to assess Levinson’s case.
“The FBI remains committed to doing all we can to bring Bob Levinson home safely to his family,” a statement reads.
This summer, the FBI began publishing ads in Farsi publications in Los Angeles and Washington, which have large Iranian-American populations, requesting any information about Levinson, to raise awareness, and advertising a $1 million reward announced by former FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2012.
In November, Levinson will become one of the longest-held Americans in history passing the 2,454 days Terry Anderson spent in captivity before being freed by Islamic militants in Lebanon in 1991.