Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad revealed new details about Iran's attempt to kidnap her, including the use and arrest of her family members to lure her to Turkey.
In an exclusive interview on Al Arabiya’s sister channel Al Hadath, Alinejad said that the FBI briefed her on the level of surveillance from Iranian intelligence officers of her and her daily movements by showing her documents and photos they had intercepted, forcing her and her immediate family in New York to move into a safe house for their safety.
"The [#Iran] government offered a huge amount of money to my family, and asked them to bring Masih to Turkey. 'We want to give her some advice. We're not going to touch her'," Iranian-American journalist @AlinejadMasih tells Al Hadath.https://t.co/jRc9cqhXKf pic.twitter.com/aOhvRyxCVJ— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 17, 2021
“But then the FBI came later and they told me that you're under surveillance. The intelligence service in Iran hired an investigator, private investigator in New York and they take pictures of you, your stepson, your husband, your private life. They feel your movement and they're trying to find out where you go, what you do, who you meet and that's what we have to send you to safe houses,” Alinejad told Al Hadath.
Alinejad also spoke on the harassment her immediate family still in Iran receive due to her journalistic and activist work as a dissident living abroad.
“My brother Ali now is in prison. Ali received eight years prison sentence just because of being my brother. So the government offered a huge amount of money to my family, and ask them that bring Masih to Turkey,” she told Al Hadath.
US prosecutors on Tuesday charged four Iranians, alleged to be intelligence operatives for Tehran, with plotting to kidnap New York-based journalist and human rights activist Alinejad, according to a Justice Department indictment unsealed.
"What is scary to me is that the whole world is watching the Islamic Republic kill its own dissidents, not only in Iran, [but] in Europe," says Iranian-American journalist @AlinejadMasih.https://t.co/jRc9cqhXKf pic.twitter.com/x0RPmtrnOA— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 17, 2021
Alinejad was not identified in court papers unsealed on Tuesday charging the four Iranians, but confirmed that she was the target of the plot.
Although she said she felt safe in New York under FBI and police protection, the Iranian-American journalist said she fears more for Iranian dissidents living abroad, especially in Europe where the Iranian regime has had a successful track record of kidnapping and assassinating those critical of Tehran.
“For me, it just breaks my heart, when I see that there are a lot of countries around the word trying to normalize such a brutal regime. That is a scary for me otherwise, to be honest, I'm not as scared of my life, I have only one life and I want to express the truth. That's my job and that's my goal,” Alinejad told Al Hadath.