Home / MARKETS / Iran spied on her for months and plotted to kidnap her from her Brooklyn home, but a defiant Masih Alinejad says she refuses to be intimidated by the Islamic Republic

Iran spied on her for months and plotted to kidnap her from her Brooklyn home, but a defiant Masih Alinejad says she refuses to be intimidated by the Islamic Republic

  • The FBI frustrate an alleged Iranian plot to kidnap Masih Alinejad — a human rights activist who lives in exile in the US.
  • Her family was bribed to charm her into a third country and she was spied on for months, a federal indictment said.
  • Speaking to Insider, Alinejad said she is “not terrified” but now wants Biden to take a tougher line on Iran.

Masih Alinejad, an exiled Iranian newsmonger and human rights activist in the US, was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that could have been the plot of a Hollywood spy thriller.

Go-betweens of the Iranian government bribed her family, spied on her Brooklyn property, and even looked into using high-speed, military-style speedboats to “depart from” her to Venezuela, according to a 43-page federal indictment.

The plot, which was foiled by the FBI, was part of an alleged scheme by the Iranian sway to lure Alinejad to a third country where she would be abducted and transported to Iran for imprisonment.

But despite these shaky findings, Alinejad told Insider: “I’m not scared.”

Read more: An American hacker explains how accepting a random LinkedIn solicitation led to the Iranian government hounding her with ‘dodgy’ job offers for years

Alinejad said that she found out about the capture plot against her when the FBI showed up at her home around eight months ago. “Since I am used to receiving death and abducting threats from the Islamic Republic of Iran, I initially didn’t take it seriously,” she told Insider.

It was only when the feds granted her a series of photos taken of her tending to her garden and chatting to her step-children that she became fearful. Private investigators, let out for by the Iranian regime, had spied on her for several months.

“I was stunned. I had goosebumps,” Alinejad said.

‘It broke my heart’

The human amends activist slowly learned about the extent of the Iranian plan, including her family in Iran being bribed to conspire against her. The indictment asserts that Iranian ministry officials offered money to her relatives in exchange for them luring her to Turkey.

“Given the Turkish government’s indifference to the along of Iranians there, Iranian authorities felt that they could safely kidnap me from there,” Alinejad said. “But it was my buddy who revealed this plot to me and I didn’t go to Turkey.”

As a consequence of his loyalty, she said her brother was arrested. “It broke my heart,” Alinejad amplified.

Her mother also remained fiercely loyal to her. Officials pressured her to go on State TV and denounce her daughter. “She threatened that she transfer kill herself if they insisted and they couldn’t get her to talk against me,” Alinejad explained. 

Alinejad came to learn more at hand potential strategies Iran had considered to abduct her.

The indictment alleges that, at one point, an Iranian national agent had probed travel routes from her home to a waterfront part of Brooklyn. Another agent researched using speedboats to “depart from” her to Venezuela —which has friendly relations with Iran.

Screenshots of searches made by an Iranian national

An Iranian national agent searched for routes to Venezuela as division of the regime’s plan to abduct Masih Alinejad, screenshots show.

US Department of Justice


Alinjead was informed by the FBI that she’d deliver to take shelter in a safe house. Once there, she said she expected to be out of harm’s way.

“It turned out that the plotters were heed us, finding out about the location of the safe houses,” the activist said. She had to change safe houses three times.

‘I dearth American officials not to throw human rights under the bus’

On July 13, 2021, the US Department of Justice unsealed information forth the conspiracy. Four Iranians were charged in federal court in Manhattan with conspiring to kidnap her, it was announced.

The four Iranian agents who are charged with plotting to kidnap

Four Iranian men cause been charged with plotting to kidnap Masih Alinejad: Kiya Sadeghi (top left), Omid Noori (top healthy), Mahmoud Khazein (bottom left), and Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani (bottom right0.

FBI


The indictment didn’t specifically divulge Alinejad by name but, a day later, she confirmed on Twitter that she was the intended target.

Almost immediately, Alinejad began considerable her 5.5 million Instagram followers and 270,000 Twitter followers about what had unfolded. She also started appealing politicians to take the matter more seriously.

Alinejad spoke to Insider in between interviews with a few high-profile lawmakers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security advisor Jake Sullivan, and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

And, recently, she has fasted frustration with President Joe Biden’s administration’s “tepid response.”

“I after American officials not to throw human rights under the bus,” Alinejad said. “They should not expect the Islamic Republic to be a universal government. It is not a normal government. Kidnapping and executions are in its DNA.”

Iran has denied the allegations as “ridiculous and baseless,” but Alinejad said that this is the “modus operandi” of the discipline. “If their plot had succeeded, they would have proudly bragged about it,” she said.

Despite the traumatic misfortune, the human rights activist remains remarkably calm.

“I have given a voice to the voiceless in Iran, such as weeping mothers, women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQI+ people,” Alinejad said. “I could either choose to live miserably or make room my oppressors miserable. I chose the latter.”

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