Iran says US charges over kidnap plot 'baseless and absurd'

By: AFP      Published: 08:24 PM, 14 Jul, 2021
Iran says US charges over kidnap plot 'baseless and absurd'

Iran on Wednesday denounced as "baseless and absurd" a US justice department charge that four Iranian intelligence agents planned to kidnap a journalist of Iranian origin in the US.

"This new assertion by the United States, whose enmity with Iran is no secret, is baseless and absurd," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, referring to charges brought against four Iranian nationals for an alleged plot to abduct Masih Alinejad.

"This is not the first time the United States has engaged in creating such Hollywood scenarios," the ISNA news agency quoted Khatibzadeh as saying.

"Of course, we expect such stories from America, whose short history is filled with assassinations, kidnappings and sabotage," he said.

"But this time the American authorities have really insulted the world's intelligence with this naive story."

Despite not being named in the US press release, feminist activist Alinejad said she was the target of the reported plot.

The four Iranians were indicted Tuesday on charges of conspiring to abduct her in New York and smuggle her out of the country.

Alinejad is of Iranian descent and an outspoken critic of authorities in Tehran.

"This plot was orchestrated under Rouhani," she wrote on Twitter of outgoing moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Alinejad founded the "My Stealthy Freedom" movement, which encourages women to remove their hair coverings.

The US justice department said the four Iranians named in the indictment are an intelligence official and three officers who work under him, all of whom live in Iran.

A fifth person in California was accused of financing the alleged operation.