Statement from the Press Secretary

December 14, 2020

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Today, the Department of the Treasury announced designations on two individuals from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security for their direct involvement in the abduction, detention, and probable death of Robert Levinson. It is clear that not only were senior Iranian officials responsible for Mr. Levinson’s disappearance, but that they took deliberate actions to obscure their involvement through an extensive disinformation campaign.

With this announcement, the United States Government is initiating the first public actions against the Iranian government to hold them accountable for the abduction of Robert Levinson—the longest ever held American hostage. The United States will relentlessly pursue all others involved as the investigation continues.

Since the beginning of this Administration, President Trump has made it clear that Iran will be held accountable for its use of detention and hostage taking as a tool of “diplomacy” and that the United States will no longer accept Iranian excuses for what we know they have done to Mr. Levinson.

No family should ever endure the pain the Levinson family has for nearly 14 years. Iran is responsible and can end this nightmare by answering questions for which only they hold the answers. Any future talks with Iran must include resolution to this case. We stand by the Levinson family, and we will never cease in our efforts to bring justice for Bob and his family.