Photo: Image Alliance / Victor Topco / Image Alliance
The United States has imposed sanctions on four members of Iran ‘s intelligence service for trying to abduct an American journalist and human rights activist of Iranian descent for criticizing Tehran. The U.S. Treasury Department announced this Friday.
The four were arrested in July and are suspected by U.S. prosecutors of plotting to assassinate Masih Alinojat, a prominent American journalist and human rights activist of Iranian descent. The United States says the aim of the failed kidnapping attempt was to appease other critics of Iran living in the United States and elsewhere.
Read more. Woman intimidates Iran by hair: Kidnapping plot around journalist Masih Alinojat (44)
This decree freezes all of the accused’s assets in the United States and prohibits U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with them. The Finance Ministry statement did not specify where the four could be at present.
Until 2009, Masih Alinojat, 44, wore a mandatory helmet and served as a prominent journalist in his home country. With her sharp pen and mouth she constantly clashed with the arch-conservative Iranian regime. Eventually, the journalist had to flee to the United States for his safety.
Even from there, Alinejat continued to denounce the abuses in Iran through social media. My stealthy freedom on the Facebook page is that Iranian women post photos and videos without their mandatory helmet. In 2017, Alinojat launched ‘White Wednesdays’. Women in Iran photograph themselves in white, while conservatives recommend black.
Four Iranians, led by agent Alireza Shawaroki Farahani (50), plotted a kidnapping as if coming out of a Hollywood movie. The team will first take her to another country and from there to Iran via Venezuela. To do that, private investigators were hired to monitor and film the journalist, her husband and their infant. They even pointed to a camera in their home that they could watch at any time of the day to monitor what they were doing. The kidnapping attempt ultimately failed.
Iran has called the plan to abduct Alinejat “absurd and baseless” from the outset. “The US government’s claim is so absurd that we are not going to respond to it,” said Foreign Secretary Saeed Qadir.
“Web specialist. Pop culture buff. Thinker. Foodaholic. Travel maven. Avid coffee junkie. Amateur tv advocate.”