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Friday
Sep232011

After Hikers' Release, US Pressures Iran on Other Missing American

Last known photo of Bob Levinson is shown on the left with computer generated imaging showing what he may look like today on the right. helpboblevinson.com(WASHINGTON) -- After more than four years of negotiating for information about the disappearance of U.S. citizen and former FBI agent Robert Levinson during a business trip on Iran's southern coast, U.S. officials are hopeful this week's release of two American hikers will now shine a spotlight on the cold case.

"We have reason to believe he's still alive," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "Let's keep the pressure on the government of Iran to release another American."

Nelson is urging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address Levinson's whereabouts at the United Nations General Assembly this week, attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad followed news of the hikers' release -- which he told ABC News was a "humanitarian gesture" by Iran -- by blasting the U.S. and its allies in his address Thursday to the general assembly and suggesting the Holocaust and Sept. 11 attacks were Western conspiracies.

A U.S. State Department official told ABC News they are working with and pressing the Iranian government for information on Levinson.

"We're overjoyed with the release of [the American hikers] and we really want to see Mr. Levinson come home," the official said.

Levinson, a married father of seven from Florida, was last seen March 9, 2007, while he was on a business trip working for a private investigative firm in Kish Island. According to associates, Levinson had traveled to Kish to meet with an American fugitive accused of murdering a former Iranian official in suburban Washington in 1980. U.S. authorities said he was last seen after checking into a local hotel for the meeting. In March, Clinton said there were indications that he is still alive and being held somewhere in southeast Asia.

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