Date
24 September 2018
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria, in this file picture taken in 2016. Photo: Reuters
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria, in this file picture taken in 2016. Photo: Reuters

Two Iranians arrested for allegedly spying for Tehran in US

Two Iranian men were indicted for allegedly spying for Tehran in the United States, including conducting surveillance at a Jewish facility and gathering information on backers of the militant Iranian opposition Mujahideen-e Khalq, Reuters reports, citing a statement from the Justice Department.

Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 38, a dual US-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 59, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were charged in the indictment with acting on behalf of Iran by conducting the surveillance, the statement said. Both were arrested on Aug. 9.

The indictment alleges Doostdar traveled from Iran to the US in July 2017 to collect intelligence about entities considered to be enemies of the Iranian government, including Israeli and Jewish interests as well as people associated with MEK, it said.

The Justice Department said Doostdar conducted surveillance in July 2017 of an ultraorthodox Jewish facility in Chicago, the Rohr Chabad House, including photographing the security features.

Ghorbani attended an MEK rally in New York on Sept. 20, 2017, to protest the current Iranian government, taking photographs of the participants, which he later passed on to Doostdar and was paid about US$2,000.

The photos, many with handwritten notes about the participants, were found in Ghorbani’s luggage at a US airport as he was returning to Iran in December 2017, the Justice Department said.

Ghorbani also attended an MEK-affiliated Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights in Washington in May, where he again appeared to photograph speakers and attendees, the department said. He later spoke with Doostdar to discuss clandestine methods to deliver the information to Iran, it said.

Iran considers the Mujahideen-e Khalq to be a terrorist group that seeks the overthrow of the government in Tehran. The group was listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department until 2012.

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CG

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