The group of four is charged with conspiracy related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and electronic fraud and money laundering.
The United States Treasury Department has sanctioned four Iranian intelligence officials who it said targeted an Iranian-American journalist and human rights activist living in the United States and Iranian dissidents in other countries in the United States. the aim of silencing critics of the Iranian government.
The Treasury’s Foreign Assets Control Office said in a Press statement Senior Iran-based intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani on Friday led a group of Iranian intelligence officers in a plot to kidnap a US-based journalist.
Although not mentioned by name in the Treasury statement or on its website, the journalist and activist is likely Masih Alinejad, a reporter who contributed to the Persian-language service Voice of America funded by the US government and reporting on human rights issues in Iran and which The case involving Iranian intelligence officers made international news.
“The Iranian government’s kidnapping plot is yet another example of its continued attempt to silence critical voices wherever they may be,” Foreign Assets Control Bureau director Andrea M Gacki said in the statement.
“Targeting dissidents abroad demonstrates that the government’s crackdown extends far beyond Iran’s borders,” she added.
The failed plot to kidnap the journalist led to the group being indicted by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in late July. The group of four is charged with conspiracy related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and electronic fraud and money laundering.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) appoints 4 Iranian intelligence agents who have targeted an American citizen in the United States and Iranian dissidents in other countries as part of a broad campaign to silence the criticism of the Iranian government. https://t.co/srx6yWwcAt
– Treasury Department (@USTreasury) September 3, 2021
The team reportedly planned the kidnapping of the journalist, who lives in New York City, the Treasury Department said on Friday, saying the group hired a private investigator to spy on the victim and laundered money from Iran to states. -United to pay for surveillance.
Sadeghi reportedly “sought options to abduct the victim via military-style speedboats out of New York City for transport to Venezuela,” according to the Treasury Department.
Farahani is also accused of leading Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi and Omid Noori in a plot to target Iranian dissidents in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (VEVAK) is engaging in domestic repression, the Treasury also said, stressing that targeting dissidents, journalists and opposition leaders undermines international peace and security.
VEVAK has previously been identified by the United States as being responsible for or complicit in the commission of serious human rights violations against the Iranian people, the department said.