The eldest son of Iranian hostage Bob Levinson on Saturday praised President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, saying that “we see this as a prime opportunity” to bring his father back to America after 11 years in captivity.
“We are encouraged by the fact that with the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, it sounds like the Trump administration will be renegotiating and talking to the Iranians again,” Dan Levinson told CNN’s Ana Cabrera.
“Then, we just saw Secretary Pompeo returning with three North Korean hostages.
“We see this as a prime opportunity,” he said.
“It shows that the Trump administration is committed to bringing home American hostages from countries that are not seen as friendly to the U.S. — and so we are encouraged.”
Bob Levinson, a retired FBI agent who is now 70, disappeared from Kish Island in Iran in 2007 while on a mission for the CIA, according to his family and a 2013 investigation by The Associated Press.
Besides Levinson, at least three other Americans are being held by Tehran: Baquer Namazi, 81; his son, Siamak Namazi; and Xiyue Wang.
In February, the Trump administration called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the hostages.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Wednesday that U.S. officials were “doing our best to get them all back.”
“There are Americans being held in several places,” he said.
“When I was the CIA director, I could see the State Department and all of the United States government was focused on getting every one of those Americans returned wherever they were.”
President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, slamming it as “horrible” and saying that he was “ready, willing, and able” to come to the table if Tehran wanted to.
“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail,” Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction.”
Then, early Thursday, Trump greeted the three North Korean hostages after they arrived early Thursday at a U.S. military base outside Washington.
They were released by dictator Kim Jong Un — and Trump later announced on Twitter that he and Kim would meet June 12 in Singapore.
Dan Levinson told Cabrera on Saturday that Trump’s strong stance against Tehran in pulling out of the deal showed that “they’re going to be tough, and they’re going to bring back these negotiations.
“President Trump said before he was elected that my dad should have been a part of that original deal.
“We’re hoping he’s going to renegotiate and make sure my dad is part of whatever new talks they have with Iran.
“This is a government that took my dad hostage, has been misleading about it the whole time,” Levinson later added.
“They lied about it. We know they have them.
“We’re encouraged that President Trump is going to be tough.”
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