The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday passed a bipartisan resolution calling on Iran to return Robert Levinson, the longest-held American citizen in U.S. history.
The committee passed the resolution, introduced by Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick CMS nominee breezes through confirmation hearing MORE (D-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Sens. Chris CoonsChris CoonsSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senate Dem: Trump will hurt Gorsuch's confirmation by undermining judiciary MORE (D-Del.) and Marco RubioMarco RubioA guide to the committees: Senate Schumer: GOP will break from Trump within months GOP loses top Senate contenders MORE (R-Fla.), a presidential candidate, unanimously by voice vote.
After the administration obtained the release of five Americans detained by Iran, it has come under increasing pressure to obtain the release of Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared from an Iranian island almost nine years ago.
Administration officials say they believe Levinson is no longer in Iran but have given no further details.
Levinson's family, who were present at the hearing, said they met with White House, State Department and FBI officials this week.
"We met with the officials and, of course, we are hopeful — they have promised to continue to press for Bob's release and find him, and bring him home to us. And we're hoping that happens. We'll see what the next couple of weeks bring," Levinson's wife Christine told The Hill.
"It needs to stay on the agenda," Levinson's son Dan told The Hill. "We're very encouraged it will continue to be an issue and continue to remain in the public eye."
After the prisoner release last month, Levinson's family spoke out in the media about a lack of communication from the government and not knowing ahead of time about the prisoner release.
Committee Chairman Bob CorkerBob CorkerA guide to the committees: Senate Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy GOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps MORE (R-Tenn.) expressed condolences to the family.
"We are sorry you've gone through this harrowing experience," he said, calling Levinson a "patriot."
"All of us know that, and we need to do everything we can to get him back."
"We'll use every avenue available to us to get a full accounting and release, I can assure you of that," added the committee's ranking member, Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinA guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions Overnight Cybersecurity: White House does damage control on Flynn | Pressure builds for probe MORE (D-Md.).