US sanctions four Iranians over plot to kidnap New York activist

Source: Al-Monitor The Pulse of the Middle East

The newly designated Iranian intelligence operatives were charged in July with conspiring to kidnap a New York-based activist and journalist.

An exterior view of the building of US Department of the Treasury is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. – OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

The United States on Friday sanctioned four Iranian intelligence operatives who federal prosecutors say plotted to abduct a New York-based activist and journalist.

The US Treasury Department announced the designation of senior Iranian intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani, as well as three other Iranian operatives, Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi and Omid Noori. The Iranian agents, who remain at large, in July were indicted in Manhattan federal court for allegedly conspiring to kidnap an American on US soil.

Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian-American author and women’s rights activist living in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, confirmed in mid-July that she was the target of their failed operation. Last year, the FBI contacted Alinejad and warned of the surveillance and plot against her.

Reached by Al-Monitor, Alinejad described the sanctions as “just a tiny step from the Biden administration toward a terrorist regime.” She called on the Treasury Department to also take action against the senior Iranian intelligence officials who authorized the plot.

The Treasury Department said the Farhani-led network was tasked with targeting dissidents in the US, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. They used a private investigator to conduct surveillance on Alinejad, US officials say, and laundered money from Iran to pay for it.

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