Treasury sanctions Iranian intel network that sought to kidnap US journalist

( Sanctions against intelligence network operatives from Iran were announced by the U.S. Treasury Department last week, after they plotted to kidnap an Iranian-born journalist in the United States. The journalist, Masih Alinejad, is a long-time critic of the Iranian regime and Islamic extremism and often appears on U.S. television news networks to discuss her experience in the country.

Alinejad was targeted by operatives who attempted and failed to kidnap her, and after U.S. intelligence officials advised her to stay quiet about it, she bravely decided to speak out about it knowing that she could face this threat again soon.

In July, four Iranian nationals were charged with conspiracy to kidnap, commit bank and wire fraud, and money laundering. The horrific attempt to kidnap Alinejad was described by the Foreign Assets Control Department of the Treasury Department said that it was designating those four Iranian intelligence operatives as “part of a wide-ranging campaign to silence critics of the Iranian government.”

Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani, a senior intelligence official from Iran, was understood to be the leader of a network of extremists who tried to kidnap the journalist and human rights activists. The Department added that their actions demonstrated the “pernicious” role of the Iranian intelligence apparatus in targeting critics of the country abroad. A statement added that the kidnappers were understood to be attempting to return Alinejad to Iran where she would presumably have faced trial or even risked death.

All four of the officials recognized as part of the plot have now been added to the Specially Designated Nationalist List, meaning that any property or interests that these people have in the United States will be blocked in the country and that all Americans will be blocked from having any official dealings with them. Any foreign financial institutions could also be hit with sanctions if they do business with them.

It’s a huge win, but it’s unlikely to stop Iran from committing crimes like this in the future.