DOJ accuses two Iranian-Americans of spying for Tehran

The Justice Department has arrested two Irananian-Americans on charges of spying on Jewish organizations and anti-Tehran groups in the United States for Tehran, whom the Justice Department alleges intended to use the intelligence for terrorist attacks.
By Rick Docksai | Jan 11, 2019
The Justice Department has charged two Iranians with spying on U.S.-based Jewish and Iranian opposition groups in the United States for the Iranian government. Justice Department agents believe that the suspects, Ahmadreza Doostdar and Majid Ghorbani, were gathering intelligence to select targets for possible assassinations and bombing attacks.

Agents released a wiretap recording of Ghorbani, a California resident, saying of one opposition figure: "Mother-(expletive) needs one, one shot."

Ghorbani was born in Iran and became a legal U.S. permanent resident in 2015. Doostdar was born in the United States and has dual citizenship, having spent most of his life in Iran and Canada.

The two men were specifically targeting Jewish centers in Chicago, as well as a rally last year in New York against the Iranian government and a similarly anti-Tehran convention this year in Washington, D.C., according to Justice Department charging documents. The New York protest's organizer was Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a main component of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition of groups calling for the overthrow of Iran's ruling mullahs.

The FBI was the source of some of the evidence against the two suspects. An FBI search of Doostdar's electronic devices indicated that he had canvassed a number of the targets and that he traveled in July 2017 from Chicago to Tehran. FBI agents put him under physical surveillance and followed him to the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago where, according to the affidavit, he "moved through the museum in an unusual fashion and was alone in a small room with an unidentified female for a short time."

The affidavit states that Doostdar photographed several Jewish centers afterward and later traveled to Costa Rica, where he met with Ghorbani. Ghorbani observed the MEK rally and photographed several anti-regime protesters, the document also states.



Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.