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4 Iranian nationals charged with alleged kidnapping plot of US journalist, court documents say

On Tuesday, an indictment was unsealed in a New York federal court revealing an alleged plot to kidnap a human rights activist and journalist from New York. Four individuals have been charged for their involvement in the plot, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, aka Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45. All four of the individuals are of Iranian nationality. The US journalist in question, Masih Alinejad, has been critical of the Iranian regime. The individuals were charged with conspiracies related to sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, money laundering, and kidnapping, according to the indictment. The suspects are all based in Iran and remain at large, said authorities.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss stated in a news release on Tuesday that the plot to kidnap the US citizen of Iranian origin included a plan to forcibly take the intended victim to Iran, where her fate would have been uncertain. A fifth person was also charged with sanctions violations conspiracy, bank and wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and structuring charges for allegedly providing financial services to the other four suspects. This individual, Niloufar Bahadorifar was arrested on July 1 in California.

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