A U.S. court indicted “four Iranian nationals with conspiracies related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, and money laundering”; a fifth individual was also charged for having “provided financial services that supported the plot”. According to a judicial official, “four of the defendants monitored and planned to kidnap a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin who has been critical of the regime’s autocracy, and to forcibly take their intended victim to Iran, where the victim’s fate would have been uncertain at best”. U.S. Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley “strongly condemn[ed] Iran’s continued attempts at kidnapping journalists and critics of the regime in order to silence dissent”, and asserted that “even as the U.S. remains willing to engage in diplomacy toward a mutual return to the JCPOA, we will not hesitate to defend our citizens and call out Iran’s human rights abuses”. Tehran called the allegations “baseless and ridiculous”.
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