Iranian-American journalist and human rights activist Masih Alinejad learned from the FBI last week that a man with a loaded AK-47 was caught near her Brooklyn apartment.
In addition to the rifle, Khalid Mehdiyev, 23, was found with a high-capacity magazine and more than $1,000 in cash, according to the New York Post.
The FBI revealed that for two days, Mehdiyev sat in an SUV parked outside Alinejad’s residence. At some point, he peeked through the windows and tried to open the front door of her building.
This is the second time that Alinejad has received a chilling call from the security agency indicating that her life might be in danger on U.S. soil. Last year, the journalist was informed she was the alleged target of an international kidnapping plot.
According to the FBI, four Iran-based men were spying on her and conspiring to abduct her. They reportedly sought out maritime routes to sneak her out of the country to the Middle East. The men even tried to bribe her family to lure her to leave the U.S.
Alinejad, 45, has gained international attention thanks to a viral social-media campaign she led a few years ago, which has turned into a movement encouraging Iranian women to protest the compulsory hijab law.
In 2018, the activist released a book about her personal journey titled, “The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran.”
Alinejad has appeared frequently on English- and Persian-language channels as an expert on Iranian affairs. She has won several awards for her work and activism, but her criticism of the Islamic regime has put her and her family in the crosshairs of the Iranian authorities.
Agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested the journalist’s brother, Alireza Alinejad, in Iran in 2019, releasing him from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison last year. The prison has been in the news for punishing various prisoners with the amputation of fingers.
Masih Alinejad, an exiled Iranian dissident and American citizen, told American media outlets this week that she is “furious” and blamed the U.S. government for inaction against the Iranian regime.
“I came here in America to be safe,” Alinejad told The New York Times. “First, they were trying to kidnap me. And now I see a man with a loaded gun trying to enter my house. I mean, it’s shocking.”
She wrote on social media that “Americans are not safe at home unless our government takes serious measures to deal with terrorist regimes such as [the] Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Alinejad called on U.S. President Joe Biden to expel Iranian diplomats from the country. She told CNN the Islamic regime has challenged the U.S. government twice, on U.S. soil, and that it is time for the White House to take action.
“I deserve to have freedom in the United States of America. Kick them out. If you don’t, believe me, they’re going to come after more American citizens,” she wrote.
Following the earlier kidnapping attempt, U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Masih Alinejad Harassment and Unlawful Targeting (HUNT) Act.
The bipartisan legislation imposes new mandatory sanctions to hold Iran responsible for its ongoing efforts to silence dissidents.