World War 3:Trump refuses to accept US hostage death in Iranian custody | World | News
He was the longest-held hostage in US history.
But Trump has disputed the claims that Mr Levinson is dead, in an unexpected turn of events.
On Wednesday at the White House, he said: “I’ve been very much involved in that and he was a great gentleman and a great family.
“It’s not looking good, he wasn’t well for years in Iran, it’s not looking promising.”
They say he had been working in Kish as a private investigator looking at cigarette counterfeiting in the region.
He retired from the FBI in 1998.
Other reports suggest he was working for the CIA to recruit an Iranian spy.
US officials suspected he was kidnapped by Iranian intelligent forces to be used as a bargaining chip in dealings with Washington.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Levinson’s family said they had received information from US officials that had led them to conclude he had died in Iranian custody.
They said: “It is impossible to describe our pain.
“Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us.
“His grandchildren will never meet him. They will only know him through the stories we tell them.
“If not for the cruel, heartless actions of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson would be alive and home with us today.”