Mohammad Sadat Khansari
Last week, two men posing as federal agents were arrested in the United States. The detained spies had presented actual Secret Service agents with gifts and free apartments in Washington. The men, Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, were arrested on Wednesday.
As more information unfolds, the case gets even more troubling, while suspicions increase about the defendants’ ties with the Iranian regime and Pakistan.
“The pair appear to have been tipped off to the FBI’s impending raid and arrest and tried to ditch some potentially incriminating items via a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the White House, The Daily Beast quoted prosecutors as saying on April 10.
The Associated Press quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Rothstein on April 7, saying that the men were attempting to “ingratiate themselves and integrate with U.S. federal agents and people who worked in the U.S. defense community.”
Taherzadeh, an Iranian national, has been accused of providing Secret Service officers and agents with rent-free apartments — including a penthouse worth over $40,000 a year — and iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a television, a generator, a gun case, and other policing tools.
Although Feds investigators “aren’t suggesting they’re Iranian-financed operatives,” Taherzadeh’s arrest recalls the recent arrests and foiled attempts by the Iranian regime’s “sleeper cells.”
These sleeper cells have been operating under various pretexts, from journalists and analysts to political refugees.
On January 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice reported the arrest of Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, charging him as an “unregistered agent of the Iranian government.”
“For over a decade, Kaveh Afrasiabi pitched himself to Congress, journalists, and the American public as a neutral and objective expert on Iran,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “However, all the while, Afrasiabi was actually a secret employee of the Government of Iran and the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations (IMUN) who was being paid to spread their propaganda,” he added.
Afrasiabi pushed the Iranian regime’s talking points for years, mainly the regime’s attempts to smear the image of Tehran’s viable alternative, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The Iranian regime’s network of terrorism and espionage in the U.S. was once again highlighted in 2019 when two men, Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 39, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 60, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were arrested for spying on Iranian opposition officials in Washington, DC.
According to the U.S. DOJ, in 2020, they were charged “for their criminal convictions relating to their conduct conducting surveillance of and collecting identifying information about American citizens and U.S. nationals who are members of the group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).”
These cases demonstrate the looming danger of Tehran’s efforts to undermine security and stability in the Western democracies. It is worth noting that Iran’s so-called “diplomat” Assadollah Assadi, based in Vienna, has been incarcerated since 2018 along with his co-conspirators after their failed attempt to bomb the Iranian opposition rally in France the same year.
Iran’s rogue activities in Europe are not limited to the 2018 foiled bombing. During Assadi’s trial, it came to the light that he ran a vast network of spies across Europe. Recent arrests of many Iranian operatives are testaments of Iran’s dark and rooted terrorism in Europe.
In September 2021, Swedish newspapers, including Aftonbladet and Expressen, reported that a former Swedish security police chief, Peyman Kia, had been arrested for spying for four years between 2011 and 2015. Kia had obtained Swedish citizenship and worked as a director in the Swedish Security Police (SPO) and an analyst in a Swedish military organization.
In addition, Swedish authorities arrested Mohammad Davoudzadeh Lului in November 2018 for his cooperation with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). He was plotting to assassinate an Iranian dissident in Denmark.
Tehran’s terrorism menace is the elephant in the room that, sadly, Western leaders have by and large ignored Yet, terrorism warrants firmness, and this is the only way to stop Tehran’s institutionalized terrorism.