Aug 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jake Sullivan vows U.S. will protect activist from Iran threats

 Masih Alinejad is pictured in Brooklyn, New York City on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Journalist and activist Masih Alinejad. Photo: Gardiner Anderson/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan expressed concern to Iranian American journalist and activist Masih Alinejad on Wednesday over her safety "following the arrest of an armed individual" outside her New York home, the White House said.

The big picture: Alinejad was allegedly the target of a kidnapping plot by Iranian intelligence operatives last year. Police say they arrested a suspect who turned up at her Brooklyn home last week and was found with an AK-47 assault rifle in a car nearby, per CBS News. A 23-year-old man is facing federal charges in the case.

Details: In a call with Alinejad and her husband, Kambiz Foroohar, Sullivan "affirmed that the U.S. Government will use all tools at its disposal to disrupt and deter threats from Iran, including those which target U.S. citizens and dissidents living in the United States," per National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

  • Sullivan conveyed to the couple that "the United States stands with Alinejad and all those in Iran who demand equal rights and dignity," according to Watson.

What she's saying: Alinejad delivered a message to the Iranian regime on CNN on Monday, saying: "Go to hell. I'm not scared of you. ... You can kill me, but you cannot kill the idea. The idea is just fighting for freedom, dignity."

What to watch: Alinejad has called on President Biden to expel Iranian diplomats from the U.S. in response.

  • Representatives for the Biden administration did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment on whether it would expel any diplomats.
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