Tehran has denied the federal investigator’s claim that Iranian agents planned to kidnap journalist Masih Alinejad.
An Iranian-American journalist and New York-based human rights activist said she would not be swayed by an alleged plot by Iranian intelligence agents to rape and report her to Iran.
Federal investigators details the plan to abduct Masih Alinejad, a journalist who contributed to the U.S. government-funded Voice of America language program and reported on human rights issues in Iran, in an accusation sealed Tuesday late against four Iranian citizens which U.S. authorities have described as intelligence operators for Tehran.
Agents have targeted Alinejad “for mobilizing public opinion in Iran and around the world to change the laws and practices of the regime,” the indictment says.
I thank the FBI for exploiting the plot of the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran to kidnap me. This plot was orchestrated under Rouhani.
This is the regime that kidnapped and executed Ruhollah Zam. They also kidnapped and imprisoned Jamshid Sharmahd and many others pic.twitter.com/HUefdEbiil
– Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 14, 2021
Earlier on Wednesday, Alinejad said she believed she was destined for her online activism, which includes sharing the stories of families of protesters killed by Iranian security forces during the November protests. and women who are forced to wear headgear against their will in Iran.
“I give voice to people without a voice.” That’s my job, “Alinejad told CNN.” I ask people to be their own narrators. I have five million followers on Instagram and one million on Facebook. “
“They send me videos and I give them a voice.” Is it a crime? “
When asked if she would be deterred from targeting – U.S. investigators said she would extend to a 2018 plot to lure her into Iran and include hiring a private investigator under false pretenses to monitor Alinejad, her family, the home and friends in Brooklyn – Alinejad replied, “I don’t want to.”
“To be honest, I’m scared of myself, but what gives me power are these people,” he said, calling Iranians “heroes” who share their stories on their platforms.
On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh denied the U.S. accusations, which also detailed how Iranian agents had allegedly sought various ways to transport Alinejad out of the country, including a service that offers military-style boats for “self-operated maritime evacuation” and sea routes to Venezuela aligned with Tehran.
Khatibzadeh said: “This new claim by the US government … is so unfounded and ridiculous that it is not really worth answering.”
The latest revelation came shortly after Iran on Tuesday announced it was negotiating prisoner exchanges with the United States. ensuring liberation of Iranians detained in U.S. prisons and other countries for violations of U.S. sanctions.
Alinejad, for his part, accused Tehran of kidnapping dissidents by using them as “negotiating pacts” like Iran and several Western powers. continue to negotiate a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
She urged the administration of US President Joe Biden “to be strong” against Iran and to “protect human rights”.
U.S. authorities have identified the alleged Iranian agents as Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, 50, Mahmoud Khazein, 42, Kiya Sadeghi, 35, and Omid Noori, 45.
Authorities have also accused Niloufar Bahadorifar, 46, a resident of California, of providing financial services that supported the plot.