Watch CBS News

Son Of American Believed To Be Held In Iran Not Giving Up Hope

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- President Barack Obama bristled Wednesday when he was asked about reaching a nuclear deal with Iran without securing the release of four American hostages.

"The notion that I'm content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails ... that's nonsense," Obama said during a White House news conference. " ... I've met with the families of some of those folks. Nobody's content. And our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out."

David Levinson, whose father, Bob, is among those Americans believed to be held, sees the easing of tensions with Iran as an opportunity.

Son Of American Believed To Be Held In Iran Not Giving Up Hope Of A Safe Return

"This is the time," David Levinson told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell. "This is still crunch time. This is still the right time to bring him home back to us."

In March 2007, Bob Levinson flew to Kish Island, an Iranian resort awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures. Days later, after an arranged meeting with an admitted killer, he checked out of his hotel, slipped into a taxi and vanished.

For years, the U.S. government said Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent, was working as a private detective investigating cigarette smuggling. His wife, however, admitted last year he was also working as a consultant for the CIA.

Without having any proof, David Levinson is confident his dad is still alive. A video was sent to the family in 2010. The images were encouraging, the son said.

"If you're able to watch the hostage video, you can see the determination in his eyes," David Levinson said.

The Levinson family has been in constant contact with U.S. officials.

"The State Department has told us that they raise my dad's case whenever they can," David Levinson said.

"I just hope that he becomes a priority now and that he's at the center of every discussion between the Iranian government and the United States government from here on out."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.