Two Iranians in the U.S. were charged with spying for Iran.
The Justice Department, along with the FBI, announced the indictments saying Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 38, who holds dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, and Majid Ghorbani, 59, a resident of California, were spying for Iran by conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States. The two were also charged with collecting identifying information about American citizens and U.S. nationals who are members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
“The National Security Division is committed to protecting the United States from individuals within our country who unlawfully act on behalf of hostile foreign nations,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “Doostdar and Ghorbani are alleged to have acted on behalf of Iran, including by conducting surveillance of political opponents and engaging in other activities that could put Americans at risk.”
Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, added, “This indictment demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice to hold accountable agents of foreign governments who act illegally within the United States, especially where those agents are conducting surveillance of individuals and constitutionally-protected activities in this country.”
According to the indictment, Doostdar traveled to the United States from Iran in the summer of 2017 to collect intelligence information about entities and individuals considered by the government of Iran to be their enemies, namely, Israeli and Jewish interests.
Doostdar is alleged to have conducted surveillance of the Rohr Chabad House, a Jewish institution in Chicago, including photographing the security features surrounding the facility.
Ghorbani is alleged to have attended a MEK rally in New York City in September 2017, during which he photographed individuals protesting against the Iranian regime.
Later that year, Doostdar returned to the United States from Iran, made contact with Ghorbani and paid him close to $2,000 in cash for 28 pictures Ghorbani had taken at the rally. Many of the pictures contained hand-written notes identifying the participants.
The indictment also alleges that Ghorbani traveled to Iran around March 2018 for an “in-person briefing.” A few months later, Ghorbani attended the MEK-affiliated 2018 Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights in Washington, D.C., during which it appeared that he photographed speakers and participants.