Editorial: One more Iranian victim: Levinson’s death after long captivity is a reminder of an outlaw regime’s evil hostage-taking tactics

Tribune Content Agency

At a time when much of the world suffers in shared agony, reality once again intrudes to remind of the pain that exists apart from the scourge of the coronavirus, inflicted from a decidedly human origin.

The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson revealed last week that U.S intelligence officials now believe that Levinson — who disappeared in 2007 in Iran on an unauthorized mission for the CIA — died sometime in recent years. It’s a tragic outcome for a man who spent more than a decade in Iranian captivity, making him the longest-held U.S. hostage in history.

The father of seven and grandfather of six was poorly served by a country he served proudly for decades. The CIA first denied that Levinson had been tasked on a surreptitious intelligence mission, claiming he was there on a private trip. Then, the Obama administration failed to obtain Levinson’s release despite having a strong hand to play during the nuclear proliferation negotiations. Subsequently, despite retrieving other Americans held by Iran, the Trump administration was unable to secure Levinson.

The ultimate responsibility for Levinson’s capture and death, of course, lies with an outlaw regime whose official media first boasted of Levinson’s arrest and then denied any official knowledge of his whereabouts in both diplomatic and judicial proceedings. It lies with a regime that, for more than 40 years, has used hostage-taking as a regular weapon of “diplomacy.”

Levinson is the latest American victim of this regime’s tactics. Pray that he be the last.


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