April 04, 2007

Missing American in Iran being "Detained": The Spying, Antisemitism, or Counterfeiting Connection?

Iranian sources are indicating that an American missing in Iran, Robert A. Levinson, isn't really "missing", he's being "detained". I'm willing to bet that he was detained because he is a) American b) has a Jewish sounding name. Press TV (a pro-regime source) via a hat tip in the comments from Rodger Morrow:

The truth of the matter is he has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9, and his inability to communicate with his family or his company, has raised the alarm about his health, safety and whereabouts. Speaking to PRESS TV on condition of anonymity the sources made clear that aside from the obvious inconvenience, the person is being well looked after.....

The sources also said that the matter, though routine, has been complicated by the mounting tensions stemming from repeated American threats against Iran, actual ongoing covert actions within Iran run by the Americans and the particulars of the man's background with the FBI.....

His visit to Kish was supposed to be a one day affair but drew the attention of the security forces because his Iranian national host registered in the same hotel room as he did and local police thought they had discovered some discrepancy in the Iranians identification papers routinely handed into the hotel....

It is a case of ordinary business running into extraordinarily bad circumstances. It is expected the matter will be over in a few days time.

It mentions that he was "detained" during a time when U.S. - Iranian tension were high and when "ongoing covert actions within Iran run by the Americans" were happening. This suggests he was picked up because he was suspected of being a spy. But later the Iranians try to explain his detention as asimple mix up. But the mix up theory still doesn't explain why the local police were interested in him in the first place, other than the fact that he was an American.

But I'm willing to bet that the one thing which led police to suspect he was "spy" had nothing to do with his FBI past. How could it? There's no way the Iranians knew this about his former life with the FBI at the time of his initial detention. No, being an American was probably enough.

But having the last name of Levinson sealed the deal. Because in Iran, being a Jew makes you automatically suspect. Jews in Iran today are forbidden from even calling Israeli relatives on the phone.

That is, if there even was a reason for picking him up. Sounds to me like this could be yet another case of the Iranians capturing a Westerner and then acting as if they are being benevolant by letting him go. The closest American might do just fine.

You know: Ignore the gun we're holding to your head. The fact that we haven't pulled the trigger is proof that we're the good guys.

Seems to be a common theme coming out of the regime these days.

We hope, as the article suggests, that he will be released ASAP.

Brian from Snapped Shot has another angle on this. He speculates that maybe Levinson was in the country working on the connection between the Iranian financing of Hezbollah through counterfeit U.S. currency. Interesting theory, I've no idea. Most accounts, though, suggest he was there in a private capacity.

Let's also not forget that Levinson is a real man with a real family that is worried about his safety and well being. Here he is.


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His family is worried:

"We miss him and love him very much. We are worried about him and want him home safe and sound as soon as possible," his wife, Christine Levinson, and other relatives said in a statement to The Associated Press.

"This has been a very difficult time. In the past 48 hours, as this has become public, we've heard from many of our friends. We are touched and so grateful for the support and prayers we've received," the statement said.

The family asked for privacy "as we do everything possible to bring Bob home."

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American Missing In Iran: The Face With The Name

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American Missing In Iran

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:20 PM | Comments |