Senior FBI official: “We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a US-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran.”
The FBI has charged four Iranian nationals for conspiring to kidnap a prominent journalist and women’s rights activist based in New York. The spy ring, directed by an Iranian intelligence officer, plotted to kidnap and smuggle Iranian-born U.S. citizen Masih Alinejad to Iran, The New York Times and other news outlets reported Tuesday.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney announces kidnapping conspiracy charges against an Iranian intelligence officer and members of an Iranian intelligence network https://t.co/26n3II71Zz@FBI @NewYorkFBI pic.twitter.com/mfYYhHffYm
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) July 13, 2021
The New York Post, on Tuesday, reported the details of the foiled Iranian plot:
Four Iranian intelligence operatives schemed to kidnap a Brooklyn-based journalist and smuggle her to Iran in a bid to silence her criticism of human-rights abuses in the Islamic republic, federal authorities said Tuesday.
In an interview with The Post, writer and activist Masih Alinejad acknowledged she was the target, and she did the same in a series of tweets. A source familiar with the matter also confirmed Alinejad was the target.
Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss, who didn’t identify Alinejad by name, said she would have faced a fate that’s “uncertain at best” if the plan hadn’t been foiled by the FBI.
On Monday night, Alinejad told The Post that she was approached 8 months ago by about a dozen FBI agents who alerted her to the plot and later put her family up in three safe houses across New York.
“‘You are not safe here,’” Alinejad said the feds told her in their initial meeting.
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said, “This is not some far-fetched movie plot.”
“We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a US-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran. Not on our watch,” he said.
The ring, led by Iranian intelligence official Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, allegedly began conspiring to kidnap Alinejad inside the US since as least as early as June 2020. (…)
The plan to kidnap Alinejad in the US allegedly included hiring private investigators to conduct multiple days of surveillance during which she and members of her household were photographed and recorded on video at and around her Brooklyn home.
Alinejad, a feminist widely regarded as the prominent voice for Iranian women in their fight against the regime’s repressive Islamic laws, founded the White Wednesdays campaign that challenges Iran’s Sharia-mandated hijab-veiling. In recent years, the movement has gained widespread support among Iran women. Courageous Iranian girls and women have posted pictures and videos of themselves discarding the Islamic headscarves, using the hashtag #WhiteWednesdays to express their support for the protest movement.
Angered by the success of the anti-hijab movement, the Iranian regime tried to silence Alinejad in the past. In 2019, Iran arrested three members of her family in retribution for her women’s rights activism.
The plot to kidnap a prominent Iranian activist and U.S. citizen comes to light as President Joe Biden’s administration is busy persuading the Iranian regime into restoring the Obama-era nuclear deal. While Iran sponsors international terrorism and wages war against U.S. allies, the Biden White House has eased sanctions on the regime. These include an international weapons embargo that will inevitably arm Iran-backed terrorist groups, such as Gaza-based Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah.
I am grateful to FBI for foiling the Islamic Republic of Iran's Intelligence Ministry's plot to kidnap me. This plot was orchestrated under Rouhani.
This is the regime that kidnapped & executed Ruhollah Zam. They've also kidnapped and jailed Jamshid Sharmahd and many others pic.twitter.com/HUefdEbiil
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 14, 2021
Iran’s Mullah regime uses brutal force to enforce Hijab laws, which first came into effect when Ayatollah Khomeini-led Shia-Islamic fanatics grabbed power more than forty years ago. The regime uses ‘morality’ police to punish women disobeying Sharia “chastity” laws and deploys Islamic Guard (IRGC) militia to quell women’s rights and anti-hijab protests.
Iranian women who defy hijab rules are threatened with rape, torture, and lengthy jail sentences. In August 2019, an Iranian Islamic court sentenced a 20-year-old woman for 24 years, including 15, for “spreading prostitution by taking off her hijab.”
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