US sanctions Iranians over alleged plot to kidnap NY-based journalist

Update Masih Alinejad, an Iranian- American journalist said she was shocked by an Iranian plot to kidnap her from her New York home. (Shutterstock/Reuters/File Photos)
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian- American journalist said she was shocked by an Iranian plot to kidnap her from her New York home. (Shutterstock/Reuters/File Photos)
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Updated 03 September 2021

US sanctions Iranians over alleged plot to kidnap NY-based journalist

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian- American journalist said she was shocked by an Iranian plot to kidnap her from her New York home. (Shutterstock/Reuters/File Photos)
  • Senior intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani led a network that plotted the kidnapping of a US journalist and human rights activist

WASHINGTON D.C.: The US has sanctioned four Iranian intelligence operatives behind a failed plot to kidnap a US journalist and human rights activist, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday.

The sanctions come after US prosecutors in July charged the four with plotting to kidnap the New York-based journalist who was critical of Tehran, whom Reuters previously confirmed was Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad.

Iran has called the alleged plot “baseless.”

A Treasury statement said the individuals were working as part of a wide-ranging campaign to silence critics of the Iranian government.

Senior intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani led a network that plotted the kidnapping of a US journalist and human rights activist, a failed plot that led to the indictment of members of the network in late July.

“Consistent with the well-documented role of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in domestic repression, this operation demonstrates the pernicious role of Iran’s intelligence apparatus in targeting Iranians abroad, to include brazen attempts to return dissidents to Iran,” the statement said.

“The Iranian government’s kidnapping plot is another example of its continued attempt to silence critical voices, wherever they may be,” Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea M. Gacki said. “Targeting dissidents abroad demonstrates that the government’s repression extends far beyond Iran’s borders.”

The Treasury statement added that their actions “threatened the rules-based international order and undermine collective peace and security.”

The sanctions block all property of the four Iranians in the United States or in US control, and prohibits any transactions between them and US citizens.

Other non-Americans who conduct certain transactions with the four could also be subjected to US sanctions, the department added.

Those sanctioned along with Farahani are Iranian intelligence operatives Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi and Omid Noori, the Treasury said.

* With Reuters