Please take a moment to read this article, if you have any idea how we can help this family it would be eternally appreciated. This is dearest friend’s father and his disappearance and lack of information on his wherabouts have been extremley painful for them. If you would like to know more about him please visit his page
Dan Levinson, Robert Levinson’s oldest son, wrote an opinion piece that has been published by The Miami Herald today, Saturday, January, 24, 2009. The text follows below:
On Inauguration Day, 28 years ago, 53 American diplomats were released only minutes after President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office, ending a horrific nightmare for not only those involved in the Iranian hostage crisis, but also the millions of Americans who followed their plight.
My family is hoping for a similar end to our own nightmare now that Barack Obama has become president.
My father, Robert ”Bob” Levinson, went missing in Iran on March 9, 2007, while investigating cigarette smuggling for his security consulting firm. It has been almost two years since anyone has seen or heard from him. My mother, six siblings and I continue to suffer as we hear less and less from the Iranian government about his case.
Earlier this month, during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearings, both she and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson agreed that if the Iranian government is, as Nelson believes, holding my father, then it has a great opportunity to send a gesture of compassion and goodwill by releasing him this month and reuniting him with his family.
While we have never accused the Iranian government of any involvement in my father’s disappearance, we do, however, ask it for clarification concerning an April 2007 report by PressTV, the Iranian government-sanctioned media outlet, stating that my dad had been ”in the hands of Iranian Security forces since the early hours of March 9” and that we should ”see him freed in a matter of days.” The last man known to have seen my father made a similar claim.
During an interview with NBC Nightly News last August, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was very knowledgeable about my father’s case, and even offered to assist the FBI in its efforts to find him. He also discussed the trip my mother and I took to Iran in December 2007 to search for my father. Unfortunately, we never received the report we were assured would come after that trip, only being told that the case was ”closed.” President Ahmadinejad could not find time to meet with my mother during his two visits to New York since my father disappeared, and we are still waiting to meet with Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations.
The U.S. State Department continues to work on our behalf and has sent a number of diplomatic notes to Iran via the Swiss, as recently as this past fall, but Iran has stopped responding. Last month, Nelson introduced a resolution on the Senate floor set to come to a vote soon. It urges Iranian officials to fulfill their promises of assistance to my family and to help the FBI in its investigation. The resolution also urges the U.S. government and its allies to continue efforts to press Iran on my father’s case.
We hope that Obama will be able to work with Iran to bring my father home. As Iran is at the top of his foreign policy agenda, and given his assertion that it is the president’s responsibility to protect American citizens around the world, we ask that both he and Secretary Clinton include my father in any possible diplomatic negotiations with Iran. My family, as ordinary American citizens, can only do so much on our own.
In December, my sister gave birth to my father’s second grandchild, a beautiful baby girl named Grace. We can only hope that this happy news might find him, and he can celebrate, wherever he is. What we are more hopeful for, however, is that he will celebrate with us, in person, someday very soon.
For almost two years my family has suffered, enduring the constant pain that silence brings. We recently gathered for our second Christmas together without my father, still praying for that one ”Christmas miracle” of his return, which sadly did not come. Two years is too long a time to go without seeing or speaking to someone you love more than anything.
A lot has been said about ”hope” by Obama. For the past 22 months, my family has never given up our hope that my father will return home safely. The safe return of my father would serve as a powerful representation of our country’s hopes: the hope of improved international relations, the hope of beginning an open dialogue with Iran, and the hope of a storybook ending for a family that, after 683 days, only wishes to be made whole once again.
Daniel Levinson, the oldest son o