An Iranian-born journalist/activist, living in Brooklyn with American citizenship, told an American audience on CNN that the Iranian government has been threatening her and has tried to kidnap her.
Masih Alinejad lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family. The threats have been going on for a while. She was the target of an international kidnapping plot last year, according to a federal indictment. On Thursday, a man was arrested in the journalist’s Brooklyn neighborhood and authorities are investigating whether the man was there as a part of the continuing plot to kidnap or harm Alinejad.
Alinejad has written and spoken out against the Islamic country, and the government wants to keep her quiet. The Iranian government denies culpability.
In the interview on CNN, Alinejad said that she was being targeted by the Iranian government because she speaks up for oppressed people in Iran.
“I’m not scared (for) my life at all because I know what I’m doing. I have only one life, and I dedicated my life to give voice to Iranian people inside Iran who bravely go to the streets — face guns and bullets to protest against Iranian regime — but this is happening in America,” she said.
She spoke directly to the Iranian regime as she looked at the camera, “Go to hell. I’m not scared of you. I have only one life. You care about power. I care about my dignity and freedom like millions of other people inside Iran. I’m not scared of you. You can kill me, but you cannot kill the idea. The idea is just fighting for freedom, dignity.”
On Thursday, a man, Khalid Mehdiyev from Yonkers, was allegedly “casing out” the area of the journalist’s home. Witnesses had seen him in the area before, acting suspiciously. NYC police officers detained him in Brooklyn for driving with a suspended license. During a search of his car, they found a loaded AK-47-style assault rifle.
Mehdiyev told officers that he was in Brooklyn looking for an apartment and said the rifle wasn’t his and had been put there by someone else.
Upon further questioning, the suspect changed his story and said that “the AK-47 was his, and that he had been in Brooklyn because he was looking for someone,” before invoking his right to counsel, according to the complaint.
Alinejad shared a video on Twitter showing the man that federal agents told her was the man arrested by police on Thursday.
In her interview on CNN, she talked about how the FBI arrested four men in 2021 involved in a scheme to kidnap her.
She told CNN, “My stepchildren live in the same house, and just imagine if the guy had opened fire. Who knows how many of my neighbors would’ve been killed? My beautiful and supportive neighbors,” she said.
“I really thought that the plot was over. I thought, ‘OK, I can focus on my job’ — which I am going to do. Nothing is going to stop me,” she said. “I see this as the continuation of trying to keep Iranian women down.”
Alinejad says that other people in her family have been harassed, interrogated and even imprisoned in an attempt to silence her.
“I don’t have any enemy. I’m not a criminal so, of course, this is the Iranian regime,” she told CNN. “When the US government does not take strong action, of course, they feel more powerful to continue this. I see this as a pattern, a continuation of oppressing women, oppressing dissidents outside Iran.”