The fate of a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly 11 years ago will be front and center at this week’s State of the Union address.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) will bring Christine Levinson, wife of Bob Levinson, as his guest for President Trump’s speech Tuesday night. Bob Levinson was working on an unapproved intelligence mission for the CIA when he disappeared in 2007 from the Iranian resort island of Kish. The length of his disappearance makes him the longest-held hostage in U.S. history, according to Deutch’s office.
Trump has referred to Levinson publicly, claiming in 2015 that he and other American hostages held in Iran would be released before he took office.
“If I win the presidency, I guarantee you that those four prisoners are back in our country before I ever take office,” Trump said at an event on Capitol Hill on Sept. 10, 2015. “I guarantee that.”
Levinson was not among the three U.S. citizens released by Iran in 2016, which included Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
As of last March, the 10th anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance, crucial details about his status were unknown. It was unclear who was holding Levinson and whether he was alive.
Deutch, the Levinsons’ congressman, introduced a bill this month to punish Iran for human rights violations and taking hostages, including prosecuting Iranian officials and imposing tough sanctions and visa prohibitions.
“We continue to demand the release of my constituent Bob Levinson, who has been held hostage for nearly 11 years,” Deutch said this month in a statement on the bill. “The United States follows words with actions, and this bill will rightfully punish Iranian officials involved in the kidnapping of American citizens and egregious human rights abuses against its own people.”
Rank-and-file lawmakers are permitted one guest to the president’s annual address to Congress. Many use the opportunity to invite people involved in favored causes or with compelling personal stories.
Several House Democrats plan to bring young undocumented immigrants or survivors of sexual assault to the speech.
Other guests include science advocate Bill Nye, Miss America Cara Mund and Ricky Taylor, a Trump supporter known on Twitter as “Deplorable Vet.”
Source » washingtonpost