Posts tagged: Robert Levinson

USG Statement on U.S. Citizens Unjustly Detained in Iran (Source: U.S. State Department)

By , March 12, 2010 10:26 am

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the disappearance of Robert Levinson in Iran, the State Department has called on Iran to release all unjustly detained US citizens, including Kian:

“… The United States also calls on Iran to resolve the cases of the five American citizens who are unjustly detained in Iran: Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, Kian Tajbakhsh, and Reza Taghavi…”

[Full statement]

“We’re prepared to listen” (Source: Politico)

By , February 3, 2010 5:18 am

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer was quoted in the influential blog Politico urging the resolution of Kian’s case, along with those of other missing and detained Americans in Iran:

“…In what was being reported as a potentially signficant shift, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranian State Television today that Iran is ready to send its uranium abroad…

A western diplomatic source said Ahmadinejad’s comments reflect that Iran is nervous about the threat of further sanctions and pressure…

Ahmadinejad also reportedly told Iranian State TV that Iran would consider exchanging U.S. citizens being detained in Iran for Iranians being held abroad. “We are having talks to have an exchange if it is possible,” Ahmadinejad was cited. “We are hopeful that all prisoners will be released.”

The NSC’s [Mike] Hammer stressed that the reports of what Ahmadinejad said are fragmentary, and the U.S. has not entered into any discussion with Iran about an exchange.

“We have made clear that we would like the cases of all our missing and detained Americans citizens to be resolved,” Hammer said, including those of “Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, Kian Tajbakhsh, Reza Taghavi, and Robert Levinson.”

Shourd, Fattal and Bauer have been detained in Iran since accidentally wandering into Iran while hiking in northern Iraq last summer. Tajbakhsh is an Iranian-American scholar arrested in Iran in the post-elections dispute. Robert Levinson is a former FBI agent who went missing while meeting a contact in Kish Island almost three years ago.

“If President Ahmadinejad’s comments suggest that they are prepared to resolve these cases, we would welcome that step,” Hammer continued. “But we have not entered into any discussion with Iran about an exchange. As we have indicated publicly, if Iran has questions about its citizens in U.S. custody, we are prepared to answer them.”

POLITICO previously reported that Swiss diplomats acting as intermediaries have told U.S. officials that Iran was seeking to link the case of the three U.S. hikers detained in Iran, and several Iranians detained in the U.S., Europe and Canada, many on export control violation-related charges.”

[Link to full article]

Interview: Embassy Hostage-Turned-U.S. Envoy Compares ’79 To Iran Today (Source: RFE/RL)

By , January 6, 2010 7:04 am

Senior State Department official John Limbert commented in an interview on the cases of Americans detained in Iran including Kian:

RFE/RL: Three U.S. hikers are [currently] detained in Iran. An Iranian-American scholar, Kian Tajbaksh, has been sentenced to a heavy prison term over the postelection unrest. And the family of a former FBI agent, Robert Levinson, who disappeared during a trip to Iran, believe that he’s still held there. What is the U.S. doing for these people? And how hopeful are you that they could be released in the near future?

Limbert: We are engaged in a lot of efforts, but for reasons that are obvious to you, I can’t give you details.

But we are in constant contact with countries that can influence this and can help. We believe that these are considered humanitarian issues and not political ones. We were hoping that some of them would be released for Christmas and New Year, but it didn’t happen.

We’re hoping that the Islamic Republic will release them in a humanitarian gesture and not treat [people] who merely exercised their rights in this manner.”

[Link to full article]

Statement by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on missing and detained Americans in Iran (Source: U.S. State Department)

By , December 6, 2009 5:02 pm

In a statement marking the 1,000th day since the disappearance of American citizen Robert Levinson in Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on the Government of Iran to resolve Kian’s case as well:

“Mr. Levinson’s case remains a priority for the United States, as does resolving the cases of other American citizens who are unjustly detained in Iran: Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, Kian Tajbakhsh, and Reza Taghavi.”

[Full statement]

More Iranian Injustice (Source: New York Times)

By , October 24, 2009 9:37 am

The editors of The New York Times have joined the chorus of other major newspapers decrying Kian’s sentencing:

“The journalist Maziar Bahari joined his pregnant wife in London this week after being freed from an Iranian prison where he had been held for five months. That is welcome news, but it would be a mistake to think that the mullahs who run the government had been seized with humanitarian spirit. If anything, they seem more determined to shift the blame for the unrest that followed the fraudulent June 12 election to America and other “foreigners.”

The Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, an urban planner with a doctorate from Columbia University, was arrested in July. He was prosecuted with more than 100 other defendants in show trials after the election sparked the biggest challenge to the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution.

An Iranian court on Sunday convicted him of fomenting unrest against the government and sentenced him to 15 years in prison… We hope this outrageous verdict is reversed on appeal. Indeed, Tehran may be using him as a pawn for negotiations with the United States on its nuclear program. But the new judiciary chief, Sadeq Larijani, will fail if he cannot direct a judiciary that is fair and consistent.

The mullahs are twisting themselves into knots trying to prove that outside forces are at work when they are facing homegrown outrage over their increasingly autocratic state. They also think they can solve the crisis with force, despite the extent of internal dissent and the refusal of many elites to condone the crackdown.

On Friday, a leading opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, was attacked at a media fair. One day earlier, authorities stormed a prayer service at a private home and arrested 60 reformists. Many Iranians detained after the election protests linger in prison without charges. Two weeks ago, authorities sentenced four to death sentences.

Since July 31, Iran has been holding three American hikers who were seized along the Iran-Iraq border. Robert Levinson, a former F.B.I. agent has been missing since 2007. These victims of Iran’s autocratic leaders must be released. Iran may sit at the negotiating table with the United States and other world powers, but it will never earn the respect it craves if it continues these kinds of human rights abuses.”

[Link to editorial]

Joint US-Canada statement on Kian and other Americans and Canadians detained in Iran (Source: US State Department)

By , September 26, 2009 4:05 pm

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon issued a joint statement calling on Iran to safely and rapidly return Kian and all detained and missing foreign citizens to their respective countries:

“Canada and the United States are deeply concerned about the continued detention of Canadian and American citizens, including dual nationals, inside Iran and once again urge Iran’s leadership to positively resolve these cases as a humanitarian gesture and in accordance with their obligations under international conventions. Individuals in detention include Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari; Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh; retired Iranian-American businessman Reza Taghavi; and American hikers Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd. American Robert Levinson has also been missing in Iran since March 2007.

We call on the Government of Iran to provide American and Canadian detainees with immediate consular access, full legal rights and protection, and a complete and transparent account of the charges against them.

As we have stated in the past, we fully respect the sovereignty of Iran. At the same time, we seek the safe and rapid return of all detained and missing citizens in Iran to their respective countries so that they might be reunited with their families.”

[Link to statement]
[Link to September 25 State Department press briefing by Spokesman Ian Kelly]

Iran’s Captives (Source: New York Times)

By , September 20, 2009 5:25 am

The editors of The New York Times are calling on Iran to release the five American citizens it has “unjustly and cruelly imprisoned”:

“Iranian diplomats are scheduled to sit down next month with diplomats from the United States and the other major powers. There is a lot to talk about, starting with Iran’s illicit nuclear program. Tehran is clearly eager to use the meeting to assert its rising influence and claim the respect it insists it has been too long denied.

The latter argument will be a tough sell, but if Iran’s leaders are truly serious about trying to change international and American opinion, they will have to start behaving like a responsible government. One immediate step they can take is to release the five American citizens they have unjustly and cruelly imprisoned.

Since July 31, Iran has been holding three American hikers who were seized along the Iran-Iraq border. Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd were hiking in the Kurdish region of Iraq and their relatives concede that they may have accidentally crossed into Iran. But there can be no justification for their imprisonment.

Iran must release Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American scholar… And it must free Robert Levinson, a former F.B.I. agent missing since 2007. It is also holding Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek correspondent and Canadian documentary filmmaker. Justice demands that he be released.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where he, too, will inevitably demand more respect for his country. Amid the wreckage of rigged presidential elections, the brutal crackdown on critics and Mr. Ahmadinejad’s repeated Holocaust denials, Iran needs to free these prisoners and allow the world some hope.”

[The full editorial incorrectly reports that authorities have not confirmed Kian's arrest]:

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