Iranian Regime Continues To Threaten Dissidents Abroad

(New York, N.Y.) — As the Iranian regime escalates its brutal crackdown against protesters demanding an end to its rule with arrests, violence, and executions, dissident activists in Europe are reportedly being subjected to threats and intimidation tactics. Iran International reported this week that one activist in France posted an audio file online sent by “a security agent of the Islamic Republic” warning that if she did not stop, her family would be sent to the Evin Prison, known for its brutal tactics, including sexual assaults, physical assaults, and electric shock.  

Iran maintains a vast network of intelligence agents staged across Europe to gather information on Tehran’s adversaries, expand Iran’s abilities to suppress opposition to the regime, and plot terrorist attacks. In June 2018, German police arrested an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, for plotting a bombing at a conference of Iranian dissidents in Paris that was attended by numerous government officials, including representatives of the United States. 

No Iranian diplomats were expelled from France in the wake of that plot, however, nor after the regime executed an Iranian journalist under French protection or in response to the regime taking French hostages. Iran has also maintained its full compliment of diplomats throughout the EU since it launched its crackdown against protesters in September 2022.  

Iranian agents are operating in the U.S., too, against dissidents. In July 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment charging an Iranian intelligence officer, three Iranian intelligence “assets,” and a co-conspirator based in California with plotting to kidnap Masih Alinejad, a dissident Iranian journalist and human rights activist residing in Brooklyn.  

According to Alinejad, Iranian agents orchestrated the plot, using laundered money to pay private investigators to surveil Alinejad with the objective of kidnapping and forcibly repatriating her to Iran. The Iranian intelligence agents also reportedly sought to pressure her family members residing in Iran to lure her to a Venezuela to be arrested and transferred to the Islamic Republic.  

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