An American of Iranian descent and a critic of the regime was likely a thorn in the side of some Iranian intelligence officials. The FBI foiled the kidnapping plan in time.
Washington (AP) – The New York prosecutor has charged four Iranian intelligence officials or informants with the planned kidnapping of an American human rights activist.
They wanted to kidnap the American woman of Iranian descent, who lives in Brooklyn, and kidnap her to Iran, where she was threatened with prosecution as a critic of the Iranian regime, the Justice Department said.
The four suspects are in Iran, it said. A fifth person living in California is said to have helped fund the venture. The federal police FBI thwarted the plan in time, it said. It is the right of American citizens to exercise freedom of speech and defend human rights – without fear of foreign intelligence, the prosecutor said.
The Justice Department did not name the person about to be kidnapped. According to media reports, it was the author and activist Masih Alinejad. She also circulated several reports and comments through her verified Twitter account, identifying her as the target of the planned kidnapping. In a tweet, she later blamed the Iranian leadership under outgoing President Hassan Ruhani for this and for the kidnapping of other regime critics.