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FBI Agent Abducted In Iran Reaches Dubious Milestone

Bob Levinson Has Been Missing 2,454 Days
A supposed photograph of Bob Levinson e-mailed anonymously to the family in 2011 (credit: FBI)

A supposed photograph of Bob Levinson e-mailed anonymously to the family in 2011 (credit: FBI)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A retired FBI agent who spent much of his career in New York has been missing in Iran since March 2007 and now has set an unfortunate record.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, it’s been 2,454 days since Robert Levinson disappeared, the longest that an American has been held hostage.

“We never expected to reach this state. Unfortunately, it happened,” Levinson’s wife Christine told Haskell.

The former agent was kidnapped during a business trip to Iran’s Kish Island six and a half years ago. The United States believes the private investigator and father of seven was abducted and has been detained in Iran.

Christine Levinson said she’s hopeful the new nuclear deal will be a good sign.

“I think the fact that the United States is talking to Iran directly is very helpful in this case,” she told Haskell. “We’re hopeful that the new administration in Iran will be more willing to help us find Bob.”

This will be the Levinson’s seventh Thanksgiving apart.

“It’s very difficult for my family,” Christine Levinson said. “There will be three grandchildren shortly that he has never met.”

Meantime, the White House is making a public plea for Iran to return Levinson.

Levinson’s case has been a topic in recent negotiations between U.S. and Iranian officials aimed at addressing Iran’s nuclear program and improving diplomatic ties.

The White House issued a statement Tuesday that said with the holiday season approaching, the United States remains committed to finding Levinson and bringing him home. The statement said, quote, “We respectfully ask the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.”

The FBI said it is also committed to seeing Bob’s safe return and has offered a $1 million reward.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)