Sanctioning Iranian Intelligence Officers Involved in the Abduction of Bob Levinson

U.S Department of State
Press Statement
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
December 14, 2020

For 13 years, the Iranian regime has denied knowledge of Robert A. “Bob” Levinson’s whereabouts or condition. However, senior Iranian officials authorized Levinson’s abduction and detention and launched a disinformation campaign to deflect blame from the regime.

Today, the United States is designating two senior officials of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), who were involved in the abduction of Mr. Levinson on Iran’s Kish Island on or about March 9, 2007. Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, acting in their capacity as MOIS officers, were involved in the abduction, detention, and probable death of Mr. Levinson. They are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13553 for acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Iran’s MOIS. The MOIS was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being complicit in the commission of serious human rights abuses against Iranians protesting fraudulent elections held on June 12, 2009.

The Iranian regime has a 41-year history of abducting and detaining foreigners and dual-nationals as political leverage. We reiterate our strong warning to U.S. citizens and dual-nationals that traveling to Iran may jeopardize their personal safety. The abduction, detention, and probable death of Mr. Levinson is another egregious example of the regime’s callous disregard toward human life.

The United States will always prioritize the safety and security of the American people and will continue to aggressively pursue those who played a role in Mr. Levinson’s disappearance. We call on the Iranian regime to provide a full accounting of Mr. Levinson’s fate, and we will not rest until all Americans wrongfully detained by Iran are back home. We hope today brings the Levinson family some of the answers and justice they deserve.

For more information about today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.