The idea was to take the journalist by boat from New York to Venezuela, a country which has good relations with Iran. From there, she would be taken to Iran, where the fate of the victim would be “at best uncertain”, according to OM. The target was described in the indictment as “a journalist, author and human rights activist,” and moments later Iranian-American Masih Alinejad announced on Twitter that she was it.
“This is not a far-fetched movie script,” said William Sweeney, deputy director of the FBI. “We believe that a group supported by the Iranian government had planned to kidnap an American journalist from our country. But we won’t let that happen.
Photos and videos
In a video posted to Twitter, Alinejad says she didn’t believe it at first, but she began to take the matter seriously when FBI agents showed her videos and photos of her and her. family, allegedly taken by the Iranians. “I am grateful to the FBI for foiling the plot. We have always been afraid of the Islamic regime, but now the Islamic regime is apparently afraid of me.
I am grateful to the FBI for foiling the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence plot to kidnap me. This plot was orchestrated under Rouhani.
It was 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
Alinejad immigrated to the United States in 2008 and is a harsh critic of the Iranian government. In 2015, she received a human rights award in Geneva for creating a Facebook page on which she invites women in Iran (where they are forced to wear the veil) to post photos of herself without a headscarf. She presents the Farsi-language program “Tablet” on the American channel Voice of America and received an American passport two years ago.
The four indicted Iranians all live in Iran and are on the run. Only one of them, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, was mentioned by name, the other three were qualified as “intelligence agents”.
Several Iranian dissidents living in exile abroad have recently disappeared under mysterious circumstances. In one of his tweets, Alinejad refers to Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist who lived in France and was lured to Iraq in 2019, where he was arrested by Iran. The same year, he was executed after a show trial. There is also the case of Jamshid Sharmahd, who lived in California and was kidnapped overseas last year and is now in an Iranian cell.