On Wednesday, July 14, the U.S. Justice Department charged four Iranians for an abduction plot against Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad. Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, also known as Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, was involved in the plot, according to a DoJ indictment.
Furthermore, the indictment revealed that a resident of California, Niloufar Bahadorifar, also known as Nellie Bahadorifar, 46, is alleged to have provided financial services that supported the plot.
The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran strongly condemned Tehran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security’s plot against Ms. Masih Alinejad and four other Iranians in Canada and the United Kingdom, as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice and the media.
“For the past four decades, in addition to torturing, executing, and massacring political prisoners, Iran’s ruling religious fascism has always made the most of terrorism, kidnapping, and hostage-taking as well as all political, diplomatic, and economic resources as a tool against the opposition and to advance its criminal policies,” the NCRI statement read. “This regime must be shunned by the international community, and its leaders must be brought to justice for their crimes against humanity.”
Tehran orchestrated the plot while Iranian negotiators have already expressed their enthusiasm for prison swamp with the U.S. “Negotiations are underway on the exchange of prisoners between Iran and America, and we will issue more information if Iranian prisoners are released and the country’s interests are secured and the talks reach a conclusion,” said Ali Rabiei, the spokesman of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, on April 27.
Iran’s Terror Attempts in the U.S. and Europe
However, the recent foiled kidnapping operation was neither the first nor the last of Tehran’s terrorist attempt in the U.S. or Europe. Back in August 2018, Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 38, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 59, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were arrested in accordance with a DoJ indictment. They were charged with conducting surveillance and gathering information on behalf of Iran on the NCRI–U.S. Representative Office.
“Ghorbani attended a MEK rally in New York on Sept. 20, 2017, to protest the current Iranian government, taking photographs of the participants, which he later passed on to Doostdar and was paid about $2,000,” the indictment read. “The photos, many with handwritten notes about the participants, were found in Ghorbani’s luggage at a U.S. airport as he was returning to Iran in December 2017.”
During the investigations, Doostdar admitted under oath that he traveled from Iran to the US three times to give Ghorbani directions from the Iranian government. Ghorbani then attended two MEK rallies, in New York City and Washington, D.C. in September 2017 and May 2018, respectively.
Earlier, in October 2011, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration agents disrupted a plot to commit a ‘significant terrorist act in the United States’ tied to Iran, ABC News reported.
“The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, with a bomb and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.,” U.S. federal officials said.
“The plan was ‘conceived, sponsored, and was directed from Iran’ by a faction of the government and called it a ‘flagrant’ violation of U.S. and international law,” said then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “The U.S. is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions.”
Furthermore, the MOIS and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Quds Force (IRGC-QF) masterminded several terror attempts against the NCRI and the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) on European soil. In March 2018, Albanian authorities foiled a bomb plot attempt against MEK members in the capital Tirana.
They later exposed that the terror plot was backed and supervised by the Iranian embassy. Later, in December 2018, the Albanian government expelled Tehran’s ambassador Gholam-Hossein Mohammad-Nia and his first deputy Mostafa Rudaki—the head of Tehran’s intelligence station in Albania—from its territory for involving in the attempt and disturbing the country’s national security. Authorities also expelled several other ‘diplomats’ and ‘agents’ in this regard.
In June 2018, in a joint counterterrorism operation, Belgian, German, and French authorities foiled a bomb plot against the NCRI annual gathering Free Iran 2018 in Villepinte, a suburb of Paris. Prosecutors detained Tehran’s third counselor in Vienna Assadollah Assadi, as the plot’s architect in the German state of Bayern. They also arrested Assadi’s three accomplices.
In February, a Belgian court convicted Assadi to 20 years in prison for transporting 1lb explosive material TATP on a civil flight with diplomatic coverage, hiring an Iranian-Belgian couple, and delivering the bomb to them in Luxembourg. The further investigation exposed that Assadi was the chief of Tehran’s intelligence station in Europe. He had derived the post from Roudaki in 2013.
Moreover, MOIS agents freely conducted several terror plots on Turkish soil. They abducted NCRI member Abolhassan Mojtahedzadeh in 1989; assassinated NCRI member Zahra Rajabi and her assistance Ali Moradi in 1996; and abducted and awkwardly tortured and killed Ali-Akbar Ghorbani in 1992. All plots were masterminded and backed by Tehran’s embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, respectively.
More recently, Tehran’s intelligence officers assassinated television executive Saeed Karimian and social media activist Massoud Molavi Vardanjani in April 2017 and November 2019, respectively. They also lured social media activist Habib Chaab to Istanbul and abducted and transferred him into Iran in October 2020. MOIS agents had lured social media activist Ruhollah Zam to the Iraqi holy state of Najaf, then abducted and transferred him into Iran. Zam was later convicted to ‘Moharebeh’—waging war against God—and was hanged in December 2020.
In a nutshell, as several politicians recently mentioned in the Free Iran 2021 virtual rally hosted by the NCRI, today, the Islamic Republic of Iran has turned from a state-sponsor of terrorism to a terrorist state. Indeed, not only did Tehran support and fuel terror activities across the Middle East and the globe but also directly use its diplomats and embassy agents to conduct terror plots.
“We must not repeat the mistakes of 2015 when the regime was handed billions and billions of dollars which were then used to support terrorist proxies to commit acts of state terrorism, to kill hundreds of thousands in Syria and around the region, and to expand the arsenal of missiles and other weapons,” said Robert Joseph, former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security on July 11.
“Assadi was an Iranian diplomat convicted of using his diplomatic cover to fly a bomb from Iran to Europe. It was to be exploded at a Free Iran rally. This was state terrorism, not just state-sponsored terrorism, but at a direct act of the regime to commit a terrorist attack outside Iran,” said Michael Mukasey, U.S. Attorney General (2007-2009) at the same conference.
“We have seen in the past couple of years in Europe and elsewhere increasing evidence that it is indeed the government of Iran itself, their diplomats, and their officials who are directing and aiding terrorist activities,” said John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor (2018 -2019).
On the other hand, the West’s acquiesce versus the ayatollahs ruling Iran only encourage them to continue their oppressive measures inside and aggressive policies abroad. In the past 42 years, they had proven that they only understand the language of power and firmness. The people of Iran have well grasped this reality and find protests as the main instrument to obtain their demands.
Officials in the U.S. and the European States must recognize this reality and adopt a powerful and firm approach toward Iran. Not only cannot concessions and sanction reliefs stop Tehran’s malign and provocative behavior but also aid them to expand their outlaw activities. “The 2015 Iran nuclear deal leaves the mullahs closer to a nuclear weapons capability than ever before,” said Stephen Harper, Prime minister of Canada (2006-2015) at the Free Iran 2021 World Summit.
Already former hostage Xiyue Wang had warned about giving ransom to the Iranian government for releasing hostages. “Foreign hostages in Iran MUST be released, but NOT through paying the terrorist regime ransom. If team Biden releases any fund to IRI for the release of hostages, it practically flushes morality and American interest down to the toilet,” he tweeted on May 2.
Foreign hostages in Iran MUST be released, but NOT through paying the terrorist regime ransom. If team Biden releases any fund to IRI for the release of hostages, it practically flushes morality and American interest down to the toilet. https://t.co/gOPPr515Y7
— Xiyue Wang (@XiyueWang9) May 2, 2021