TAMPA - Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has spoken with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif concerning a former FBI agent who is believed to have been held hostage in Iran since March 2007.
Press Secretary Ryan Brown told ABC Action News by email that Nelson spoke directly with Zarif by phone for 15 minutes Friday about the case of Robert A. “Bob” Levinson, who traveled to Kish Island, Iran, as a private investigator on March 8, 2007.
According to the FBI, he has not been publicly seen or heard from since he went missing the following day, March 9, 2007.
The senator reminded Zarif of a pledge by Iran to help get answers in Levinson’s case and Nelson “reiterated that it would be viewed as a humanitarian gesture if Iran helped find him,” Brown said.
Levinson’s wife told ABC News following the sixth anniversary of her husband’s disappearance in March that she will hold Iran to its promise to help find her husband.
"We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter," Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC News in 2008.
"I hope that they do it as quickly as possible," Christine Levinson said. "We continue to be extremely worried about Bob, particularly his health. He is 65-years-old.”
Though not seen in public, a hostage video was posted on the Internet over a year ago.
"Please help me get home," Levinson said in the video. "Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me."
Levinson’s wife has said that despite Iran’s overtures to help find Levinson, no results from Iran’s supposed own investigation has been provided to her.
“Nelson has been working on this case for a number of years and trying to help the family,” Brown said.
Zarif's reaction to the conversation has not been ascertained.
Nelson’s phone conversation with Zafir comes as Iran has begun to open up again diplomatically to the West, most notably with a new presence on social media platforms.
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