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Photo: Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

The U.S. has sanctioned four Iranian intelligence operatives for their role in an alleged campaign to silence critics of the Iranian government, the Treasury Department said Friday.

Driving the news: The four operatives planned to abduct Masih Alinejad, a New York City-based Iranian-American activist, according to the Treasury Department. They have also targeted other Iranian dissidents in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

Context: The Treasury Department sanctioned the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security in 2012 for its human rights abuses and support for terrorist groups.

  • "Consistent with the well-documented role of the [MOIS] in domestic repression, this operation demonstrates the pernicious role of Iran's intelligence apparatus in targeting Iranians abroad, to include brazen attempts to return dissidents to Iran," per the Treasury.
  • Senior Iranian intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani oversaw the alleged plot with the help of Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi and Omid Noori, Treasury said.
  • Federal prosecutors filed charges against all four in July in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

What they're saying: "The Iranian government's kidnapping plot is another example of its continued attempt to silence critical voices, wherever they may be," Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.

  • "Targeting dissidents abroad demonstrates that the government's repression extends far beyond Iran's borders."

What's next: The sanctions block the Iranians' properties in the United States or in U.S. control. They also bar any transactions between the operatives and U.S. citizens.

  • The operatives have been indicted for conspiracy related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud and money laundering.

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2021 - World

Israeli foreign minister heads to D.C. to coordinate on Iran

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Rome. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will travel to Washington next week for talks with senior Biden administration officials on Iran, Lapid’s office said.

  • Lapid is expected to meet with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Vice President Kamala Harris between Oct. 12-14.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

50 mins ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.