Burkina: “sovereignty” and a show of support for the ruling junta
NEW YORK: The US Justice Department announced on Friday the arrest of three people from Eastern Europe with ties to Tehran in connection with a plot to kill Iranian-American journalist and human rights activist Masih Alinejad. This news hardly surprised experts and analysts.
It evokes many deja vu of such Iranian activity on American soil, including the 2011 plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir.
Analysts lament the lack of deterrents for Iran and warn that only stronger measures will prevent such machinations from continuing on US soil.
Now the three men are charged with contract killing and money laundering for conspiring to kill activist Alinejad.
One of the men was arrested last summer in the Brooklyn neighborhood where Alinejad lives. At that time, he was charged with possession of a firearm after police found an AK-47 rifle and ammunition in the back seat of his car.
The incident later raised a lot of suspicion until the backstory was revealed on Friday.
The Justice Ministry said in a statement that since at least July, the three men had been tasked with “carrying out” the murder of activist Alinejad, “who had previously been the target of Iranian government plans to intimidate, harass and kidnap him.”
“As recently as 2020 and 2021, Iranian intelligence officials and agents hatched a plan to kidnap Alinejad from the United States and return to Iran to silence his criticism of the regime.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday that all three defendants are believed to be in custody.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a press conference announcing the charges: “Today’s indictment presents a dangerous threat to national security — a dual threat from a brutal transnational criminal group that it believes operates as a haven for an outlaw state. . . The latest is the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Jason Brodsky, policy director for the United Against a Nuclear Iran Arabic News that Friday’s arrests show that “there are no obstacles to the Islamic Republic operating on American soil. We have to change this, otherwise we will have to wait for more such plots in the future.”
On October 11, 2011, two Iranian nationals were indicted in a New York federal court for conspiracy to assassinate Mr. Al-Jubeir.
What is now more commonly known as the Iranian assassination plot or the Iranian terror plot was to plant a bomb outside the restaurant where Mr. Al-Jubeir was eating, and then to bomb the Saudi Arabian and Israeli embassies in Washington.
“These cases are treated as the work of law enforcement agencies. They are usually accompanied by an indictment, a stern warning and a statement from a senior US official,” Brodsky said.
“And after that, sanctions will probably be applied in the future. This will not be a game-changer in the long run, as the costs can generally be absorbed in the minds of Iranian officials. “You’re dealing with sporadic sanctions against people who don’t have assets in the United States,” he continues.
“You come across a statement with countless caveats. But this does not seem to deter them.”
“Indictments are usually not a deterrent either. The interesting thing is that they were able to take these three people into custody.”
“But it can be appropriated for Tehran, because it is not about Iranian officials. They are members of the East European criminal syndicate.”
Brodsky says that preventing Iran’s criminal activities in the West requires a “multipronged approach” in the long run. “This is an issue that involves not only the United States, but also our allies in Europe.”
Last November, two British-Iranian journalists working in the UK for Iran International TV were tipped off by police about a “credible” plan by Tehran to kill them.
The publication accuses Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of being part of a dramatic and dangerous escalation of Tehran’s “campaign to intimidate Iranian journalists working abroad.”
French satirical magazine earlier this month Charlie Hebdo After publishing a caricature of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, he became the victim of a cyberattack.
“A computer attack does not result in death, but it sets the tone. “The Mullah regime would feel so threatened that it would consider hacking the website of a French newspaper as essential to its existence.” writing Charlie Hebdo.
Huseyn Salami, the commander of the SEPAH, threatened to take revenge against the employees of the French magazine on Tuesday.
According to Mr. Brodsky, it is important to “begin to consider possible kinetic retaliation for such plans to deter the Iranian regime from going any further.”
He refers to another indictment, which was not filed last summer, in which he accuses a member of the IKKI of the contract killing of a former US national security adviser.
Therefore, if we continue to treat these cases as real law enforcement problems with little or no political response, we should expect this vicious cycle of the Iranian regime to continue,” Brodsky said.
Although SEPAH is recognized as a terrorist organization in the United States, it has not yet been listed as such in European jurisdictions. Mr. Brodsky said that the European Union and Great Britain should do this urgently.
“It is too late for the IKK to be sanctioned as a terrorist organization in European courts. It adds that it will strengthen the market’s deterrence against the Islamic Republic and prohibit ex-IKKI businessmen and their families from profiting from illicit wealth in Western jurisdictions.
In addition, designating the IKK as a terrorist organization would have a “symbolic” effect and show that “the world’s leading democracies stand with the Iranian people who are courageously protesting and chanting: Death to the IRGC.” This also proves that Europe is not with its oppressors, but with the people.” “Not to mention the many Arab countries that are victims of the IKK.”
This text is a translation of an article published on Arabnews.com