DOJ Indicts Iranians Accused Of Spying For Iran On Jewish, Anti-Khomeini Groups

The Department of Justice indicted two individuals accused of spying on Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States, as well as the anti-Khomeini group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 38, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 59, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were arrested on August 9, according to records which were unsealed on Monday. 

According to the indictment, in or about July 2017, Doostdar traveled to the United States from Iran in order to collect intelligence information about entities and individuals considered by the government of Iran to be enemies of that regime, including Israeli and Jewish interests, and individuals associated with the MEK, a group that advocates the overthrow of the current Iranian government.

On or about July 21, 2017, Doostdar is alleged to have conducted surveillance of the Rohr Chabad House, a Jewish institution located in Chicago, including photographing the security features surrounding the facility. -DOJ

Ghorbani is alleged to have attended a MEK rally in New York City, where he allegedly photographed individuals participating in the protest against the current Iranian regime. 

In or about December 2017, Doostdar returned to the United States from Iran and made contact with Ghorbani in the Los Angeles area.  During the meeting, Doostdar paid Ghorbani approximately $2,000 in cash and Ghorbani delivered to him 28 photographs taken at the September 2017 MEK rally, many of which contained hand-written annotations identifying the individuals who appeared in the photos.  These photographs, along with a hand-written receipt for $2000, were found concealed in Doostdar’s luggage as he transited a U.S. airport on his return to Iran in December 2017. -DOJ

Ghorbani is also said to have traveled to Iran "in or about" March 2018 to conduct an "in-person briefing," after which he attended the MEK-affiliated 2018 Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights in Washington DC. "During the course of the conference, Ghorbani appeared to photograph certain speakers and attendees, which included delegations from across the United States.  On May 14, Doostdar called Ghorbani to discuss clandestine methods Ghorbani should use in order to provide this information to Iran," reads the DOJ statement. 

“This alleged activity demonstrates a continued interest in targeting the United States, as well as potential opposition groups located in the United States,” said Acting Executive Assistant Director McGarrity. “The FBI will continue to identify and disrupt those individuals who seek to engage in unlawful activity, on behalf of Iran, on US soil.”

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