Armed man lurked near Iranian dissident’s home

NEW YORK (AP) — Masih Alinejad, an Iranian opposition activist and writer in exile in New York City, has already been identified as the target of an alleged kidnapping plot. A year later, it appears the threats against her keep coming.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged a man last week with driving around Masih’s Brooklyn neighborhood over the weekend with a loaded assault rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition. Alinejad said Monday that authorities told her the man was looking for her, and that a home security video had caught him skulking outside her front door.

“It is shocking that someone came to my house with a loaded assault rifle,” Alinejad told The Associated Press in an email. “Last year, the FBI foiled a kidnap plot. Now a killer is dispatched to deal with me.”

The suspect, Khalid Mehdiyev, has been locked up without bail and his lawyer declined comment. The US Attorney’s office also wouldn’t talk about the case beyond what for now is a gun possession charge.

Last year, US prosecutors charged an Iranian intelligence officer and others with plotting to kidnap Alinejad and take her back to Tehran. Iranian officials called accusations “baseless and ridiculous.”

Alinejad, who worked for years as a journalist in Iran and became a US citizen in 2019, has long been targeted by its theocracy after fleeing the country following its disputed 2009 presidential election and crackdown. She’s known as a prominent figure on Farsi-language satellite channels abroad that criticizes Iran.

In the new case, a criminal complaint filed against Mehdiyev doesn’t directly tie him to Iran or the kidnapping plot. Instead, it only charges him with a gun violation based on a traffic stop by the New York Police Department, but also cites what they say were his contradictory

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