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US sought Levinson info from Tajik.

The US Justice Department appears to have tried to bargain with Nosratollah Tajik, offering to ease up on its prosecution of him if he could provide useful information on the where-abouts of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent long missing in Iran.

The Independent of London carried the repot last Thursday.

The newspaper quoted the text of an email sent to Tajik's lawyer and signed by Daniel Collins, an official in the US Justice Department. The newspaper did not give the date of the email.

It quoted Collins as asking "whether or not Mr. Tajik wishes to proffer any information that he may have--second-hand or otherwise--regarding Robert Levinson, who remains missing following travel to Iran."

Collins then wrote very circumspectly that if Tajik provided help, it would allow "my office to evaluate the information for its value to our investigation and determine what, if any, benefit may be afforded to Mr. Tajik in exchange for truthfully providing that information."

The story did not indicate why the Justice Department thought Tajik might know something about Levinson. Levinson disappeared on Kish island just a few weeks before Now Ruz in 2007 and has not been seen since. Tajik was under arrest in Britain from 2006.

The Independent said Tajik told it he spurned the offer.

Tajik was held in Britain for extradition to the United States to face trial for trying to arrange the smuggling of US night vision devices to Iran. He was freed this month when a British court ruled he had been detained too long.

He was only briefly jailed and then held under house restriction most of his six years, required to spend the night time hours in his home but allowed to move about the country in the daylight hours.

Tajik denied any smuggling plot and suggested British officials had their own reason for detaining him. "They were worried about the British diplomats in Iran and they kept me here as a hostage," he told The Independent. "It's not fair for a person with a family to have such strain and stress."

Tajik was once Iran's ambassador to Jordan. After his retirement, he came to Britain to study and teach.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Jan 4, 2013
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