The Trump administration blamed Iran for the presumed death of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, identifying two Iranian intelligence officers believed responsible for his abduction and imposing sanctions against them, reports the Associated Press. Levinson disappeared in Iran under mysterious circumstances more than a decade ago. Although U.S. diplomats have long said they thought he was taken by Iranian government agents, Monday’s announcement was the most definitive assignment of blame to date. Besides blaming two high-ranking intelligence officers by name, U.S. officials said the Iranian regime sanctioned the plot that led to Levinson’s abduction and lied for years about its involvement in his disappearance.
“The abduction of Mr. Levinson in Iran is an outrageous example of the Iranian regime’s willingness to commit unjust acts,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Iranian intelligence officers identified as Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khaza are both alleged to have been involved in his abduction. Under sanctions announced Monday, any property or assets that they hold in the U.S. would be blocked. Though it’s unlikely that they have bank accounts in the U.S., sanctions could limit their movements or financial dealing outside of Iran. donday’s announcement is the latest in a series of aggressive Trump administration actions against Iran since the president withdrew from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal two years ago.