After surveillance and an investigation that lasted approximately a year, U.S. attorneys announced on Monday that two men with ties to Iran were arrested earlier in August and have been indicted on multiple charges. The indictment charged Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar and Majid Ghorbani with knowingly acting as agents of the Iranian government, providing services to Iran that violated U.S. sanctions, and conspiracy.
“This indictment demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice to hold accountable agents of foreign governments who act illegally within the United States, especially where those agents are conducting surveillance of individuals and Constitutionally-protected activities in this country,” said Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
In a statement released by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)’s Security and Anti-Terrorism Committee in April, the group noted that there were numerous cases of suspicious acts near their Washington, D.C. headquarters and that these incidents could point to serious terrorist threats. The relevant authorities were notified.
Iranian Resistance targeted by the spies
The two men were caught recording information about members of the Iranian resistance group PMOI/MEK who are living in the United States. They attended different events, passing on information about who was in attendance. They also targeted a Jewish building in Chicago, taking photos of its security measures.
As the protests in Iran continue, due in large part to increasing economic and social struggles, the missions of many MOIS agents has also increased. Surveillance of Iranian resistance members in many countries, including Albania, Europe, and the United States, is also increasing.
A group claiming to be from Channel 4 in Britain was caught videotaping members of the PMOI/MEK in Albania. The tapes and images appeared briefly on the webpage of an Iranian government official before being removed. Several requests have been made to Channel 4 for the materials to be returned to the representatives of the individuals recorded without permission, but no response has been received.
“The discovery and neutralization of the regime’s espionage and the terrorist plot in the U.S. follow the foiling of two major terrorist plots against the PMOI and the Iranian resistance in Albania and France. It once again makes clear that the religious fascism ruling Iran, on its deathbed, see no solution other than suppressing the Iranian people’s uprising and assassinating members of the PMOI,” said a statement released by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a coalition of resistance groups including the PMOI/MEK.
They called for the need to prosecute and expel members of the Iranian Intelligence Community and Quds Force agents, as well as any known or undercover agents from the regime.
Setting the stage for terrorism by repressing Iranians
According to the NCRI, there has been an increase in the number of incidents of spying and information gathering by the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), the Quds Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and other agencies. Part of their efforts includes an increased psychological warfare meant to demonize the resistance throughout Europe and other nations.
The Iranian resistance also held a press conference on Thursday, providing detailed information about the protests and demonstrations in Iran that have continued for eight months despite the efforts by the regime to suppress them. They also noted that the 1988 massacre of members and supporters of the PMOI/MEK has yet to be prosecuted and that the individuals responsible still hold positions in the Iranian government.
“It has been more than seven and a half months since widespread protests that began at the end of last year against the regime in more than 142 cities and were suppressed in January of this year. Yet we are witnessing demonstrations, strikes in various cities of Iran. This is despite what regime’s propaganda and its lobbies abroad have made the media believe: that this time, as in 2009, the uprising has been stopped and theocracy dominates the situation,” said Afshin Alavi, a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee.
While protests begin based on economic and social issues, they quickly turn political and call for regime change. The triggers for the demonstrations appear to be unique to each area within Iran but ultimately turn to calls for a replacing of the regime and its corrupt ways. Methods of repression include signal jammers, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Individuals are frequently arrested or suffer from physical abuse at the hands of Iranian authorities.