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U.S. judge orders Iran to pay $1.4B over missing former FBI agent

Oct. 6 (UPI) — A federal judge has ordered Iran to pay the family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson $1.4 billion in connection with his disappearance more than a decade ago.

In his opinion, Washington, D.C., District Court Judge Timothy Kelly said the damages are based on the nature and extent of the harm and the need for deterrence.

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“Iran’s kidnapping, torture and detention of Levinson since 2007 is barbaric conduct that has caused him and his family immeasurable suffering,” Kelly wrote.

“Moreover, Iran’s kidnapping and torture of and attacks on U.S. citizens, either directly through Iranian state institutions or by the provision of material support to militant groups, is ‘part of a longstanding pattern and policy, making the need for deterrence clear.'”

Levinson, a part-time CIA consultant after retirement, was working as a private investigator when he disappeared on Iran’s Kish Island in 2007. He’d been investigating a cigarette smuggling case and was set to meet U.S. fugitive Dawud Salahuddin when Iranian security officials detained them both.

Levinson’s family said in March they were informed by U.S. officials that he died in Iran.

“How those responsible in Iran could do this to a human being, while repeatedly lying to the world all this time, is incomprehensible to us,” the family said.

Levinson’s relatives sued Iran for the imprisonment and cover-up.

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