‘Not on our watch!’ the FBI as it foils an Iranian plot to kidnap a UK-based journalist.
According to US prosecutors, an Iranian conspiracy to kidnap a UK-based journalist and several others was disrupted.
They claim that the Iranian government planned to entice opposition activists from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada to the Middle East, where they would be detained.
Masih Alinejad, a 44-year-old Iranian-American journalist based in New York, verified she was among the victims.
Iranian agents allegedly devised an audacious scheme to kidnap her, transporting her by speedboat to Venezuela, an Iranian ally.
A UK-based journalist, who has not been named, has been under surveillance since at least September 2020, according to US court records.
Private investigators had allegedly taken images of the victim’s home after being hired under false pretenses.
Three Canadians were also targeted, as well as residents of the United Arab Emirates.
Four Iranian spies, Omid Noori, Kiya Sadeghi, Mahmoud Khazein, and Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, are named in court documents as being complicit in the plot.
A fifth suspect, Niloufar Bahadorifar, was arrested in California on suspicion of financially aiding the plot.
She is not, however, accused of being involved in the planning of the kidnapping.
The FBI’s New York Office director, William F. Sweeney Jr, indicated that the plot is serious.
“This isn’t some far-fetched movie plot,” he explained.
“We say that a group backed by the Iranian government plotted to kidnap a US-based journalist and return her to Iran forcibly. “Not on our dime.”
Ms. Alinejad said she was one among the plot’s targets when anti-regime rallies were suppressed in 2009.
“I am grateful to the FBI for foiling the plot to kidnap me by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry,” she tweeted.
“Rouhani was the mastermind of this operation.
“Ruhollah Zam was kidnapped and executed by this administration.
“They also kidnapped and imprisoned Jamshid Sharmahd and a number of other people.”
In December 2020, Mr Zam, an Iranian journalist who was brought back to the Middle East from France, was executed.
Ms. Alinejad spearheaded the ‘White Wednesday’ and ‘My Stealthy Freedom’ initiatives in support of Iranian women defying the authorities.
Supporters of the movement imagine themselves outside in Iran without head coverings, which is against the law in the country.
Since 1979, when the Islamic revolution brought religious extremists to power, Iran has been ruled by a theocratic dictatorship.
The Iranian government has denied any kidnapping plot. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”