Senate panel pressures Iran to return missing American

Senate panel pressures Iran to return missing American
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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 NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate panel approves bill to speed up driverless cars Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump proclaims 'Cybersecurity Awareness Month' | Equifax missed chance to patch security flaw | Lawmakers await ex-CEO's testimony | SEC hack exposed personal data MORE (D-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Sens. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThis week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Lift the Jones Act and similar restrictions for humanitarian crises Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (D-Del.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (R-Fla.), a presidential candidate, unanimously by voice vote.

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"We need to press [Iran] to keep their commitments," Coons said.  

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 CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerDeficit hawks voice worry over direction of tax plan The Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot 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 CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax CEO faces outraged lawmakers | Dem presses voting machine makers on cyber defense | Yahoo says 3 billion accounts affected by 2013 breach Key Dem: Did Kushner use private emails to talk with foreign governments? Dem senator pitches ideas for gun control after shooting MORE (D-Md.).