American and Iranian officials downplayed the disappearance of a former FBI agent in Iran last month, with a US diplomatic official describing the case as routine and saying several Americans go temporarily missing each year in Iran.
Wes Robertson, a spokesman for the US Embassy in the Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, said the State Department has already contacted Iran for information on the American, identified as Robert Levinson of Coral Springs, Florida.
Levinson, 59, is a retired FBI agent last seen March 11 on the Iranian resort island of Kish, which sits across the Gulf from the Emirates. Levinson was said to be working on a film on the island, known for its beaches, sea turtles and relatively liberal atmosphere.
Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted Kish officials on Tuesday as saying there was no evidence that Levinson had disappeared, but gave no details on his whereabouts. The report asked US officials to provide Levinson's flight details for further investigation.