Manhattan federal court indicts 4 Iranians over plan to kidnap opposition activist

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Four suspects — one was an Iranian intelligence officer while the rest are alleged Iranian intelligence network members — were charged in Manhattan over their plan to kidnap a well-known Iranian opposition activist and writer and return her to Tehran, according to authorities on Tuesday.

Allegations were raised at an indictment in Manhattan federal court citing that the kidnap plan was a portion of another plot to entice to Iran three persons in Canada and a fifth person in the United Kingdom. Authorities said that the victims were also the targets in the United Arab Emirates.

While the targets’ identities were not divulged, Brookly’s Masih Alinejad said on Twitter that she was notified by the authorities that she was listed as a target.

“I am grateful to FBI for foiling the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry’s plot to kidnap me,” Alijenad said in a video captured in her residence. 

Her husband, Kambiz Foroohar, had also confirmed the information to CBS News regarding Alijenad’s inclusion on the targets.

 “I knew that this is the nature of the Islamic Republic, you know, kidnapping people, arresting people, torturing people, killing people. But I couldn’t believe it that this is going to happen to me in United States of America,” Alijenad shared to The Associated Press.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations has not released any comment. The alleged plot was also not recognized by Tehran’s state media. This, despite that the country has grown more hard-hitting in the past years on capturing opposition writers abroad because of their wrecked nuclear agreement.

According to the indictment, a journalist based in Paris was exiled, captured, and was later executed. Another member of an Iranian militant opposition group based in California who was in exile was claimed to have been abducted by his family while he was in Dubai last year.