Informed sources have told PRESS TV that the story of an American businessman and retired FBI agent gone missing from Iran's Kish Island is somewhat misleading.
The truth of the matter is he has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9, and his inability to communicate with his family or his company, has raised the alarm about his health, safety and whereabouts. Speaking to PRESS TV on condition of anonymity the sources made clear that aside from the obvious inconvenience, the person is being well looked after.
The sources also said that the matter, though routine, has been complicated by the mounting tensions stemming from repeated American threats against Iran, actual ongoing covert actions within Iran run by the Americans and the particulars of the man's background with the FBI. Not a happy configuration under the circumstances. Nevertheless the authorities are well on the way to finishing the procedural arrangements that could see him freed in a matter of days.
It has been established that his retirement from federal law enforcement took place nearly a decade ago, his area of expertise was organized crime not intelligence and his trip to Kish was purely that of a private businessman looking to make contact with persons who could help him make representations to official Iranian bodies responsible for suppressing trade in pirated products which is a major concern of his company. The outstanding reason for making such a connection is the man has no prior experience in this part of the world.
The enterprise he works for deals in low technology high visibility brand name products sold worldwide and the Persian Gulf has been proving to be a major problem area for illegal production and marketing of these products. Iran is not the origin of this activity but is the largest market by far on the waterway and thus a primary target area for the pirated goods.
His visit to Kish was supposed to be a one day affair but drew the attention of the security forces because his Iranian national host registered in the same hotel room as he did and local police thought they had discovered some discrepancy in the Iranians identification papers routinely handed into the hotel. Turns out, there was nothing irregular in the Iranian national's papers but this drew the attention of the local police onto the American and he was detained some 12-15 hours after arriving on the island.
It is a case of ordinary business running into extraordinarily bad circumstances. It is expected the matter will be over in a few days time. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran is in the process of or has already delivered a note from the U.S. State Department concerning his welfare and whereabouts to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. One of the ironies of the retired FBI man's ordeal is that he had been instrumental in persuading his former colleagues not to put former president Mohammad Khatami and his retinue through the ordeal of fingerprinting when he traveled to that country in September 2006.