President Trump’s administration is dropping the proverbial hammer on two senior Iranian intelligence officials for the role they played in the disappearance and “probable death” of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
“The government of Iran pledged to provide assistance in bringing Bob Levinson home, but it has never followed through,” FBI Director Christopher Wray stated Monday morning. “The truth is that Iranian intelligence officers, with the approval of senior Iranian officials, were involved in Bob’s abduction and detention.”
Levinson’s family has blamed Tehran for the former FBI agent’s disappearance in 2007 for years, but the new sanctions identify specific culprits, Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, at the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security. And the sanction announcement served a wider policy purpose, as well, as the Trump administration argued that Joe Biden should demand the release of all other American hostages in Iran in the nuclear negotiations expected next year.
“Mohammad Baseri is a high-ranking MOIS officer involved in counterespionage activities in and outside of Iran, who has been involved in sensitive investigations related to Iranian national security issues,” the Treasury Department said Monday. “Baseri has worked directly with intelligence officials from other countries in order to harm U.S. interests. Ahmad Khazai is a high-ranking member of the MOIS who, in his role as a senior official of the MOIS, has led MOIS delegations to other countries to assess the security situation.”
“No family should ever endure the pain the Levinson family has for nearly 14 years,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. “Iran is responsible and can end this nightmare by answering questions for which only they hold the answers. Any future talks with Iran must include resolution to this case.”
This is right on the money.
No further deals of any sort that we work out with Iran should ever not include the release of Americans being detained in their country. Especially given the track record Iran has for being hateful toward America and its citizens.
President Trump has proven time and time again to be the right kind of leader when it comes to foreign policy. No other president has managed to do the work he’s done in the Middle East.