The US government has desperately imposed sanctions against two Iranian intelligence officers over their alleged role in the disappearance and probable death of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

Iran PressAmerica: The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a formal notice Monday indicating that sanctions would be imposed on Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, alleged to be members of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

The United States accused them of involvement in the 2007 disappearance of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who Washington claims was abducted in Iran and died in captivity.

This is while Iran has said that it has no information about the fate of the US citizen.

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The sanctions on Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai are the latest in a long series of such actions by the outgoing US President Donald Trump, whose term ends on Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

As a result of the sanctions, any property of the men under US jurisdiction must be blocked and US persons are generally barred from dealing with them. Foreign persons risk blacklisting for dealing with them and foreign banks also could be punished for knowingly facilitating a significant transaction for them.

In a conference call, US officials said all evidence the United States has gathered so far indicates that Levinson, who went missing on Iran’s Kish Island in the Gulf in April 2007, likely died in captivity.

The US officials declined to detail why they had announced the sanctions now, saying only that it is a lengthy process to gather the evidence and to make the legal determination.

One reason for the timing maybe to make it harder for Biden to negotiate a return to world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran - which Trump unilaterally abandoned in 2018 - if Iran resumes complying with the accord, without ensuring the release of all US citizens detained by the Islamic Republic.

Last March, Iran’s United Nations mission spokesman, Alireza Miryousefi, said Tehran had always maintained that its officials had no knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts and that he was not in Iranian custody.