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Wife Of Missing American Hopes To Meet Iran's President

Robert Levinson (Public domain) September 18, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The wife of a former FBI agent who disappeared in March while on a business trip to Iran told Radio Farda today that she has traveled to New York to try to meet with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who is expected to speak at the UN General Assembly.

Christine Levinson told Radio Farda that she has not been able yet to get an appointment with the Iranian president.

"I keep trying to get an appointment, I know he's a very busy man but I hope he will be able to find even 10 minutes to see me," she said. "I want to ask him for his help in finding my husband, I know that he has the ability to find him."

Robert Levinson was last seen on March 8 on Kish Island off the southern coast of Iran, where according to his family he had gone to seek information on cigarette smuggling.

His wife told Radio Farda that she has applied for an Iranian visa to travel to Iran and seek information on her missing husband. She said Iranian authorities are reviewing her visa request.

"I believe it's close to one month or so before they get back to me, but I did give them a letter stating what I would like to do so," she said. "I hope they will be able to give me" a visa.

Christine Levinson also appealed to those who might have seen her husband to contact her and her family through the website they have launched (

Levinson believes her husband is still in Iran. Iranian authorities have however said that they don't have any information about his whereabouts.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini was quoted on September 10 as saying that efforts are continuing to find traces of Robert Levinson.

Iranian-Americans Detained In Iran

Iranian-Americans Detained In Iran

Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was detained in Iran in May. She was charged with acting against Iran's national security. Esfandiari along with another detained Iranian-American scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh, appeared on Iranian television in July in a program that -- according to Iranian officials -- showed that the two are linked to a U.S. plot to destabilize Iran's Islamic establishment. Human-rights groups strongly condemned the program and said any statements that were made were coerced. Esfandiari was released from jail on August 21 on a bail of about $300,000. She was allowed to leave Iran on September 3.

Kian Tajbakhsh, a consultant with the Open Society Institute, was also detained in Iran in May. He is also facing security charges including acting against Iran's national security. He is reportedly detained at Tehran's notorious Evin prison in solitary confinement. Following Esfandiari's release in August, an unnamed judiciary official was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying that Tajbakhsh will be also freed in the near future.

Ali Shakeri, a peace activist and businessman based in Irvine, California, is believed to have been detained since May 8. He was reportedly arrested at Tehran's international airport while leaving for Europe. Iranian authorities confirmed his detention in June. On August 12, Tehran's deputy prosecutor said that Shakeri's case was not related to the cases of Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh and that "the time had not yet arrived for providing full information about his situation." His wife, colleagues, and human-rights groups have expressed concern over his fate.

Parnaz Azima, a broadcaster with Radio Farda, was prevented from leaving Iran since a visit to her sick mother in January, when authorities confiscated her passport and charged her with working with Radio Farda and spreading propaganda against the state. On September 3, intelligence officials told her to collect her passport. Azima left Iran on September 18.