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Tehran spy in U.S. sentenced to three years in prison

U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Washington, January 16, 2020—A Washington court sentenced an Iranian spy to three years on Wednesday. Ahmadreza Doostdar, who was arrested by the FBI in August 2018 on charges of espionage and plotting against members of the Iranian resistance, had pleaded guilty last year and had admitted to having been serving as an agent of the Iranian regime.

Several documents showed that Doostdar and his recruit, Majid Ghorbani, were collecting information about members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and were delivering the info to the mullahs in Tehran. Their actions were in violation of U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. Ghorbani, who was arrested in September 2018 and tried with Doostdar, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

The lawsuit accused Ghorbani of pursuing covert surveillance at Washington's Grand Hyatt hotel in May of 2018. During the time the hotel was hosting an event organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities, putting on an Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights that significantly angered Tehran and gained widespread media coverage.

A YouTube video of one of the speakers, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, clearly shows Ghorbani in the audience, holding up a mobile phone and filming the event, according to U.S. authorities.

Speaking at a D.C. court hearing, prosecutor Jocelyn Ballantine said the regime of Iran has a record of “horrible acts of violence” against MEK and added that the photographs provided information that could help the regime target the group’s members. Ballantine also said that the methods used by Doostdar and Ghorbani indicated they had been trained by Iranian intelligence services.

A Department of Justice official stipulated in a statement that the “case illustrates Iran’s targeting of Americans in the United States in order to silence those who oppose the Iranian regime or otherwise further its goals.”

The case of Doostdar and Ghorbani is one of many plots the Iranian regime has carried out against the MEK in recent years.

On Wednesday, Albanian authorities expelled two Iranian diplomats from their country because of their role in spreading the regime’s terrorism and plotting against the Iranian opposition. In December 2018, Tirana expelled Iran's ambassador and another diplomat whom the country accused of "damaging its national security” and “violating their diplomatic status.”

In July 2018, Belgian authorities arrested two Iranians who planned to bomb the Free Iran Gathering in Paris, where tens of thousands of Iranians had gathered to support nationwide protests in Iran. The terrorist plot involved an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, who was also arrested. Assadi served as the chief of intelligence operations in the Iranian regime’s embassy in Vienna, Austria.

In March 2018, Albanian authorities foiled a terror plot aimed at PMOI/MEK members. Thousands of MEK members were relocated from Iraq to Albania in 2016. Since then, the Iranian regime has escalated its espionage activities in the country through its embassy.

The Iranian regime blames the PMOI/MEK for coordinating and guiding the nationwide protests that have been ongoing in the cities of Iran since November. Iran’s regime has vowed to take revenge against the PMOI/MEK members.

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