While the Biden administration is busy considering eliminating sanctions placed on the despotic Iranian regime by the Trump administration, the Department of Justice announced it was charging four Iranian men connected with the Iranian regime with an attempt to kidnap an Iranian-American journalist who has spoken out vehemently against the regime.
“Prosecutors say the Iranian government directed followers to kidnap the author to get her back to Iran. Farahani is an Iranian intelligence official who lives in Iran, and Khazein, Sadeghi, and Noori are Iranian intelligence assets who work for him, the Justice Department said,” NBC News reported.
The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday:
A New York federal court unsealed an indictment today charging four Iranian nationals with conspiracies related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, and money laundering. A co-conspirator and California resident, also of Iran, faces additional structuring charges.
According to court documents, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, aka Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, all of Iran, conspired to kidnap a Brooklyn journalist, author and human rights activist for mobilizing public opinion in Iran and around the world to bring about changes to the regime’s laws and practices. Niloufar Bahadorifar, aka Nellie Bahadorifar, 46, originally of Iran and currently residing in California, is alleged to have provided financial services that supported the plot.
Masih Alinejad, who now serves as a producer with Voice of America and is the author of “The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran,” told NBC News that she was the target of the Iranian plot. “I’ve been targeted for a number of years but this is the first time that such an audacious plot has been hatched and foiled,” she stated.
“A law enforcement official familiar with the case also identified the author as Alinejad,” NBC News reported.
Alinejad said on Tuesday night, “The police have been around my home for the past two weeks now. When I asked them why they were here, they told me it was to protect me. This is also what the FBI told me. They said they’d tell me later, but that the police have to be here often. They are here from 5 a.m. until midnight. I’m so not used to being protected by the police. Every time I see them I assume it’s to arrest me. Yes, I’m also worried. I see them often — even when I go out to check on my flowers in my garden. But it imbues me with a feeling of safety when I see the police protect me. This wouldn’t have happened in my homeland. It’s a weird feeling.”
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
William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of the F.B.I.’s New York office, stated, “This is not some far-fetched movie plot. We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a U.S.-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran. Not on our watch,” The Daily Mail noted.
In 2018, Alinejad told The New York Times, “Over the past two decades — as a journalist critical of the regime, as an outspoken feminist and ultimately a dissident living in exile in America — the Islamic Republic has tried to intimidate me and my family, which still lives in the poor village where I was raised in northern Iran.”
“Her brother, Alireza Alinejad, a father of two small children, was arrested in 2019 and taken to the infamous Evin prison where he was held for 10 months before being sentenced to eight years in prison,” The Daily Mail reported.
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