MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The government of Iran is acknowledging for the first time an open case into the disappearance of missing former FBI agent Bob Levinson.
The information was contained in a report to the United Nations, saying "Mr. Robert Alan Levinson has an ongoing case in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran."
For the Levinson family this revelation is one of the most significant in the dozen years since Bob Levinson disappeared and represents a potential breakthrough in finding out where he is and what happened to him.
"This is a very encouraging development," said Levinson's son, Dan.
Dan said his family is working with their Iranian lawyer and U.S. officials to decipher exactly what that means.
"It would not be a missing persons case because that's not what this court does," Dan Levinson said. "It deals with things like espionage cases, which is the kind of changes they've had against the Iranian-Americans they've held over the years."
Levinson has been missing since March 2007. Since then, his Coral Springs family has waited and worked tirelessly to learn what happened after the former FBI agent vanished while visiting an Iranian island. Levinson was on an assignment for the CIA.
The news out of the United Nations got the attention of President Trump who tweeted, "If Iran is able to turn over to the US kidnpapped former FBI agent Robert A Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step." Dan Levinson said the Trump Administration has made his father's case a priority.
"The fact that he did tweet about this, shows how important it is to the Trump Administration," Levinson said.
Levinson's family, which includes his wife and seven children, is desperate for answers. In 2010, they received a video of him. In 2011, they received photos. But despite diplomatic efforts, including the release of other Americans held in Iran a few years ago, they've watched the days and weeks and family occasions go by without resolution.
"Our last sister just got married earlier this year," Levinson said. "Another grandchild, this is 7. He's never met 6 of them."
But now, Levinson's family hopes this acknowledgment from Iran will lead to a reunion.
"I think that the Iranians are coming closer to coming to the table," Levinson said. "The sanctions are having an impact in Iran. We're hopeful that they're starting realize that they need to get my dad's case resolved. That we're not gonna let this drop. We're not gonna go away."
There is a $25 million dollar reward for information that leads to Levinson's safe return to his family.
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