Washington – The Obama administration faced intensified pressure Friday to find former CIA contractor Robert Levinson – from lawmakers and the Levinson family – nearly seven years after he disappeared in Iran during what now has been revealed as an unofficial spy mission.
Levinson’s family urged the government “to step up and take care of one of its own.” Members of Congress said they wanted to know more about the case, which led to three veteran analysts being forced out of the agency and seven others being disciplined.
Levinson vanished after a March 2007 meeting with an admitted killer on Kish Island, an Iranian resort. For years, the U.S. publicly described him as a private citizen who traveled to the tiny Persian Gulf island on business. But an Associated Press investigation revealed that Levinson actually was a contractor working for the CIA, and was paid by a team of agency analysts who were acting without authority to run spy operations to gather intelligence.
U.S. measures spur Iran to quit talks
Tehran, Iran – Iran pulled out of expert-level talks with six world powers Friday to protest the expansion of U.S. sanctions, saying the blacklisting of more entities violates the spirit of a groundbreaking agreement over Tehran’s atomic program.
In the first major hurdle to the interim deal reached last month in Geneva, the United States targeted more than a dozen companies and people on Thursday for evading sanctions against Iran.
It was an effort by the Obama administration to show it will enforce existing law even as it presses Congress to hold off on additional measures while world powers pursue a comprehensive nuclear deal with Tehran.
Ukraine protesters say meeting fruitless
Kiev, Uraine – After more than three weeks of street protests against his rule, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Friday met with opposition leaders, who came away declaring that little had been achieved.
“Talking to these high-placed bureaucrats felt like traveling back to the U.S.S.R.,” opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said Friday night. “None of our demands were met.”
The meeting at Ukraina Palace included Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s top clergy, former presidents and others.