US official tells Iranian dissident of Biden's support

America will use 'all tools at its disposal to disrupt and deter threats from Iran', Jake Sullivan tells Masih Alinejad

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian opposition activist and writer in exile in New York City. AP
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US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has told Iranian-American activist Masih Alinejad of his "profound concern" for her safety after news of a possible attack plot at her home in New York, and expressed President Joe Biden's support for her and other Iranian dissidents.

A man identified by the FBI as Khalid Mehdiyev was arrested last week after allegedly staking out Ms Alinejad's home. Court documents state he had been parked outside the Brooklyn residence for several hours and, after a traffic stop, police discovered a Chinese, AK-47-style assault rifle with an obliterated serial number in his car.

Police say they discovered weapons in Khalid Mehdiyev’s car. Photo: NYPD

In a call to Ms Alinejad on Wednesday, Mr Sullivan told her that the US government would "use all tools at its disposal to disrupt and deter threats from Iran, including those which target US citizens and dissidents living in the United States”, the White House said.

Mr Sullivan described Ms Alinejad as “a leading American activist, journalist, and champion for human rights and women’s equality in Iran".

He said President Joe Biden would "continue to receive updates on her situation, and indicated that the US stands with Ms Alinejad and all those in Iran who demand equal rights and dignity."

Ms Alinejad was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot by Iranian operatives in the US last year.

At the time, she told The National of her shock upon learning of the alleged plan.

“When the FBI came to my house, I couldn’t believe it at first," she said last year. "I was laughing initially, but when they showed me photos that Iran’s intelligence gathered of me, of my husband, my son and our own house, I realised that this is not funny — it is serious."

Court documents filed by the FBI on July 29 say Mr Mehdiyev initially told investigators that he was in Ms Alinejad's neighbourhood because he was looking for a new place to live.

Upon further questioning, he told agents the AK-47 was his and that he had been in Brooklyn "because he was looking for someone", the criminal complaint states.

Updated: August 04, 2022, 2:47 PM
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