Report: Iran May Release Former FBI Agent Soon

Friends of the former FBI agent believed to be in custody in Iran, Robert Levinson, say he could be released as early as today based on what they describe as two unconfirmed reports from Tehran.

"We have received a call that he is free, and we have people at airports in Frankfurt and Dubai where we have been told he could show up," one of Levinson's friends told The Blotter on

U.S. officials could not confirm the report, but FBI spokesman John Miller said, "We are hearing the same thing, but we have no way to judge the credibility of that information."

Levinson disappeared almost two months ago after traveling to the Iranian island of Kish to meet with an American fugitive accused of murdering a former Iranian official in suburban Washington in 1980.

Levinson, who left the FBI 10 years ago, was working for a private investigative firm.

Friends of the former agent say the Iranians, who never officially confirmed that Levinson was in custody, apparently decided to release Levinson as a "gesture of good will" in advance of Thursday's meeting of foreign ministers, which will include the Iranian foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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Levinson's friends caution that the reports are uncorroborated by any official U.S. government source.

"We are full of hope," one of his friends said today.

There had been growing concerns that Levinson, who suffers from diabetes, had developed health problems while reportedly being held in an Iranian prison run by the Revolutionary Guard.

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