Man With Loaded AK-47 Seized by NYPD After Lurking Near Brooklyn Home of Iranian Dissident

Masih Alinejad, exiled from Iran, calls on President Biden to act after what appears to be a second attempt on her life.

Kambiz Foroohar via Wikimedia Commons
Masih Alinejad in 2018. Kambiz Foroohar via Wikimedia Commons

An Iranian dissident is calling on President Biden to act on Iranian-backed attempts on her life on American soil. Masih Alinejad spoke with the Sun via text after the arrest near her home in Brooklyn of a man with a loaded AK-47.

Last July the Federal Bureau of Investigation foiled an Iranian plot to kidnap Ms. Alinejad and to hustle her onto a speedboat in Brooklyn. From there the plan was to transport her to Venezuela and then to Iran, where a hanging was planned.  

“It’s shocking that the Islamic Republic has tried for a second time to eliminate me,” Ms. Alinejad told the Sun.  “They are shameless. I need the Biden administration to take action.”

Since before the first attempt on her life was made public last July, Ms. Alinjad’s home has been protected off and on by the New York Police Department and the FBI. While the latest alleged would-be assassin was caught on Friday, it is far from clear that he has acted alone.

Other Iranian-backed agents could still be looking for her. First reported on Friday by the website Inner City Press and followed up by the New York Post this morning, the latest assassination attempt on American soil against an American citizen has yet to capture nationwide headlines.

The suspected assassin, identified in federal court as Khalid Mehdiyev, 23, was described as “heavy-set, wearing a black T-shirt” when brought to court. Mr. Mehdiyev was found in Brooklyn in his car, a gray Subaru Forester SUV. Police say that after the arrest they found in the car an assault rifle, a high-capacity magazine, and more than $1,000 in cash.

Mr. Mehdiyev had been lurking near Ms. Alinejad’s home for two days, according to the NYPD. The police complaint also detailed two alternative license plates in addition to the car’s Illinois license plate. After his arrest, Mr. Mehdiev changed his story several times while speaking with police investigators.

“Interestingly Khalid Mehdiyev is reportedly from #Azerbaijan, and #Iran has employed Azeri hitmen to target Israelis in Cyprus before,” United Against Nuclear Iran’s policy chief, Jason Brodsky, tweeted.

Ms. Alinejad’s campaign in support of Iranians defying the Islamic Republic’s dictat that all women and girls must cover their heads in public has irked the regime for a long time. The campaign, and defiance, has gathered new steam recently, as dissatisfaction with the regime is becoming widespread in the country.

Women arrested for removing their hijabs often videotape themselves saying, “You can arrest me, but I’ll send this video to Masih.” Ms. Alinejad’s social media following in Iran and beyond has made her a target of the regime, and Tehran politicians often portray her as public enemy no. 1. 

While promising to base his foreign policy on human rights, Mr. Biden has largely ignored gross violations of such rights in Iran. Instead, his Iran policy revolves around the idea that America and its allies can use diplomacy to stop Tehran’s attempt to become a nuclear power. 

So far, that has failed. Yet to coax Tehran into a return to a 2015 nuclear deal, the Biden administration eased tough sanctions imposed by President Trump. Iranian oil exports that had almost ceased until 2021 are now commonplace. The regime increasingly believes its economy can survive American sanctions, weakening Washington’s leverage over Tehran. 

The state department is beseeched daily regarding investigation into the death of a Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering a battle between Israelis and Palestinians near Jenin, the West Bank. In contrast, there is much less interest in several attempts on the life of an Iranian-American journalist at Brooklyn, New York, by assassins who act on behalf of a foreign power whose leaders’ favorite chant is “death to America.” 

The New York Sun

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