How Iranian Intelligence Hunts Down Dissidents While Protecting Al-Qaeda

The Department of Justice made a stunning announcement this week. Four Iranian nationals have been charged with plotting “to kidnap a Brooklyn journalist, author and human rights activist.” A fifth individual is facing related charges. 

The indictment doesn’t name the intended victim. But Masih Alinejad, a well-known human rights campaigner, quickly made it known that she was the target. Alinejad’s revelation was hardly surprising. She’s dedicated her life to exposing the horrors of the Iranian regime, refusing to bow to pressure even as Iranian authorities locked up and harassed her family members.  

According to court documents, the Iranian regime has been trying to net Alinejad for years. In 2018, Iranian operatives tried to persuade her family to lure her to an unspecified location outside of the U.S. At that point, the Iranians planned to detain and extradite her back to Iran, where she would have been imprisoned and likely killed. 

The Iranians are well-practiced in such operations. They’ve hunted down dissidents around the globe. But Alinejad’s family refused to entrap her, so this early plot was evidently abandoned. 

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