Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has denied allegations that it is holding a former FBI agent who disappeared in the country in 2007, Agence France-Presse reported.
Last week, diplomatic cables were released by WikiLeaks that suggested Robert Levinson may be being held by the Revolutionary Guard, the political-military force established after the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought religious rule to Iran.
“We deny the arrest of the FBI agent and if the Guards had arrested an enemy, it would announce itself,” the head of the Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, told reporters, according to ILNA news agency. He denounced the allegations as attempts by Iran’s “enemies to find excuses and weaknesses” about the country.
In March 2007 Levinson, who was reportedly working as a private detective on a cigarette-smuggling case, disappeared when visiting Iran’s Kish Island, a popular tourist resort in the Persian Gulf.
While the Iranian government has insisted it has no information about his whereabouts, a former Iranian political prisoner who managed to flee the country said Levinson may have spent time in one of the Revolutionary Guard’s secret jails, the newspaper reported.
The informant said he saw the words “B. LEVINSON” written on the frame of a cell, according to The Telegraph. While he did not know who Levinson was at the time, he learned about his disappearance after returning to the United States.
The Revolutionary Guard is an elite military unit established after the Islamic revolution of 1979 to protect the regime against internal and external threats. It has major influence in Iran’s political and economic affairs as well as military matters.
The United States has maintained that Levinson was no longer working for the FBI at the time of his disappearance.