Trump has admitted it is not “looking good” for retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, now presumed dead in Iran.

In a coronavirus taskforce press conference on Wednesday evening, the president said that he assumed the American had died in custody.

Mr Levinson disappeared in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission. Government officials initially claimed he was travelling in a personal capacity but then six years later officials admitted it was on government business.

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'It's not looking good. We feel terribly for the family', Mr Trump said.

He added Iran hadn't yet confirmed Mr Levinson's death.

Mr Trump's comments came an hour after Mr Levinson's own family released a statement.

“We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody. We don't know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in a statement.

“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.”

“Those who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, including those in the U.S. government who for many years repeatedly left him behind, will ultimately receive justice for what they have done. We will spend the rest of our lives making sure of this, and the Iranian regime must know we will not be going away. We expect American officials, as well as officials around the world, to continue to press Iran to seek Bob's return, and to ensure those Iranian officials involved are held accountable.'

The family thanked the Trump administration for their assistance in trying to return Levinson home and called the former agent an 'American hero'.

“Bob Levinson was a truly remarkable individual - the best husband, father, brother, grandfather and friend anyone could ever ask for. He was an American hero - a true patriot, and his compassion and kindness knew no bounds,” the family said. “We will miss his warmth, humor, and wisdom, but most of all, we will miss the deep and unconditional love he had for each one of us. He will never be forgotten - we will make sure of it.”

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