At least three men have now reportedly been detained in connection with a murder-for-hire plan reportedly funded by Iran that targeted a prominent critic of Tehran in the United States, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated Friday.
Garland noted that all three accused are anticipated to stand trial, with two of them in US custody and a third awaiting extradition from somewhere else.
While Garland did not name the victim, it is widely assumed that it is Masih Alinejad, a prominent opponent of the Islamic Republic who was previously the subject of an abduction attempt foiled by the FBI and detailed in an unsealed indictment in July 2021.
Alinejad revealed herself as the victim of the murder-for-hire plan on Friday, writing and sharing a video on Twitter about meeting with 12 FBI officers in New York and learning that the three men had been detained.
Garland highlighted the indictment’s scheme, stating that persons in Iran charged Rafat Amirov with carrying out the murder-for-hire conspiracy, with Amirov characterized as a member of an Eastern European criminal organization with links to Iran.
He is scheduled to appear in federal court in New York later today.
Amirov allegedly led two other persons, Polad Omarov and Khalid Mehdiyev, to carry out the murder plan against Alinejad.
Mehdiyev has been detained in the United States since July 2022, when he was apprehended near the victims’ house in Brooklyn, New York, with an assault weapon, two ammo magazines, and roughly 66 rounds of ammunition, according to Garland.
The US claims Mehdiyev was acting on orders from Omarov, who is being held by “international partners,” according to Garland, pending extradition to the US.
Iran’s government is also said to be targeting former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Brian Hook, who served as special envoy for Iran under the Trump administration and continue to be protected by the government.