This murder-for-hire plot directed against a prominent critic of the Iranian regime is yet another chilling example of the violent tactics used to silence those who speak out for the freedoms and safety of people around the world.
This is not the first time the Department has disrupted an Iran-based plot against this victim. Last year, DOJ indicted four individuals connected to Iranian intelligence with a kidnapping conspiracy aimed at forcibly returning the victim to Iran.
These charges are just the latest example of individuals in Iran directing deadly violence on U.S. soil. Last year, DOJ charged a member of the Iranian IRGC with an attempt to assassinate the former U.S. National Security Advisor.
We have the solemn duty to protect the American people from hostile foreign actors who would seek to harm them. Increasingly, authoritarian regimes engage in and support wide-ranging efforts to undermine our core values and the rule of law.
We face an alarming rise in plots emanating from Iran, China, Russia, and elsewhere, targeting people in the United States, often using criminal proxies and cutouts.
The Department remains steadfast in our determination to defend our fundamental American values of freedom of expression in the face of all forms of transnational repression.
To foreign actors who plot violence on our soil believing they are out of our reach, know that we will pursue you, wherever you may be.
The lead defendant in this case was a made member of a criminal organization living in Iran, who believed he could get away with plotting to kill an American in New York City. Now, he will face justice in a U.S. courtroom.
This is because of the dedication and partnership of the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the National Security Division, who are working every day to defend our nation’s security.