On Tuesday, there were four Iranian intelligence officials who were indicted. They were attempting to kidnap a journalist who was based in Brooklyn, New York. This report was released from the Department of Justice.
The indictment, which was released to a New York federal court, said that the four defendants had planned to kidnap the journalist who had been born in Iran. According to the Justice Department, the kidnapping was going to happen because the journalist was attempting to mobilize “public opinion in Iran and around the world to bring about changes to the regime’s laws and practices.”
Audrey Strauss, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a recent release that Iranian “actors” were to kidnap and conduct surveillance on the journalist, “with the intention to take the kidnapped victim back to Iran, where the victim’s fate would have been uncertain at best.”
There is a fifth co-conspirator, too. He lives in California, and he will face additional charges. It is thought that he provided financial means to the plot.
Mark J. Lesko, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a recent release, “Through this indictment, we bring to light one such pernicious plot to harm an American citizen who was exercising their First Amendment rights, and we commit ourselves to bring the defendants to justice.” Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi, and Omid Noori each are charged with “conspiring to kidnap, conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and sanctions against the government of Iran, conspiring to commit bank and wire fraud, and conspiring to launder money.”
These three defendants – Khazein, Sadeghi, and Noori — work under Farahani, who is an intelligence official, and he lives in Iran. Farahani’s intelligence network has been attempting to kidnap the U.S. journalist since June 2020. Farahani wants to further the “Iranian government’s efforts to silence the journalist’s criticism” of the country.
Farahani and his network are accused of “employing private investigators to surveil their intended victim and the victim’s household members.” The private investigators misrepresented their identities as well as their purpose of the surveillance. According to the Justice Department, the investigators also laundered money into America to pay for services rendered.