Prosecutor: Armed man lurks near Iranian dissident’s home

NEW YORK (AP) — Masih Alinejad, an Iranian opposition activist and writer in exile in New York City, had already been identified as the target of an alleged kidnapping plot. A year later, it seems the threats keep pouring in against her.

Federal prosecutors in New York last week charged a man with driving with a loaded assault rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition over the weekend in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Masih. Alinejad said on Monday that officers told her the man was looking for him, and a home security video had caught him abusing outside her front door.

“It’s shocking that someone came to my house with a loaded assault rifle,” Alinejad told the Associated Press in an email. “Last year, the FBI foiled the kidnapping plot. Now a killer has been sent to deal with me.”

The suspect, Khalid Mehdiyev, was held without bail and his lawyer declined to comment. The U.S. Attorney’s office also won’t talk about the case, which is an allegation of gun possession, for now.

Last year, US prosecutors accused an Iranian intelligence officer and others of plotting to kidnap Alinejad and take him back to Tehran. Iranian officials described the allegations as “baseless and ridiculous”.

Alinejad, who worked for years as a journalist in Iran and became a US citizen in 2019, has long been targeted by his theocracy after fleeing the country following the 2009 presidential election and crackdown. She is known abroad as a prominent figure on Persian-language satellite channels that criticize Iran.

In the new case, a criminal complaint filed against Mehdiyev does not directly link him to Iran or the kidnapping plot. Instead, it not only alleges gun violations by the New York Police Department based on traffic stops, but also states that what they say were their contradictory statements about their conduct would have implicated them in a more serious way. Huh.

The complaint states that Mehdiyev was seen lurking near Alinejad’s house last week, and after ordering food to be delivered to his vehicle, approached the residence and looked inside through the windows and tried to open the front door . After a while, police officers pulled him over and arrested him for driving with a suspended license.

Subsequent searches of the car found a suitcase containing a rifle “loaded with one round in the chamber and one magazine attached, with a separate second magazine, and a total of about 66 rounds of ammunition,” the papers say, “so The serial number of the rifle seems to have been erased.”

Initially, Mehdiyev claimed he was looking for a room for rent in the neighborhood, the papers say, and that he had borrowed the car he was driving and didn’t know about the gun. He later admitted that the gun belonged to him and was in a “looking for” area.

At that point, he stopped talking and asked for a lawyer.

In his email, Alinejad said his position reflects the need for the US government to take a tougher stance towards Iran.

“What happened this weekend is not normal and it just doesn’t affect me,” she wrote. “It poses a risk to everyone. It’s not behavior that anyone in the United States should ordinarily accept.”

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