‘Go to hell,’ journalist tells Iran after a person with a loaded rifle was arrested close to her Brooklyn dwelling


By Josh Campbell and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad on Monday instructed the Iranian regime, “Go to hell,” simply days after authorities knowledgeable her a person armed with an AK-47-style rifle was arrested within the Brooklyn neighborhood the place she lives together with her household, together with her stepchildren.

Authorities are investigating whether or not the person in custody was there to hurt her, a legislation enforcement official instructed CNN.

Alinejad was focused in an alleged kidnapping plot by Iranian nationals final 12 months after she spoke out in opposition to the Islamic republic. The plot was organized by an Iranian intelligence official, an indictment alleged, however Iran’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs denied any involvement, calling the accusation “baseless and ridiculous,” based on semiofficial Iranian state media.

In a CNN interview, she mentioned the Iranian authorities had been concentrating on her and her household for her efforts to provide voice to these being oppressed within the nation the place she was born.

“I’m not scared (for) my life in any respect as a result of I do know what I’m doing. I’ve just one life, and I devoted my life to provide voice to Iranian individuals inside Iran who bravely go to the streets — face weapons and bullets to protest in opposition to Iranian regime — however that is occurring in America,” she mentioned.

Dictators are becoming a member of forces, sharing playbooks, she mentioned, and if democratic nations don’t do the identical, extra Individuals can be focused. Towards the tip of the televised interview, she requested if she may communicate on to the Iranian regime.

Going through the digital camera, her curly hair uncovered and adorned with a flower, she mentioned, “Go to hell. I’m not terrified of you. I’ve just one life. You care about energy. I care about my dignity and freedom like hundreds of thousands of different individuals inside Iran. I’m not terrified of you. You possibly can kill me, however you can’t kill the thought. The concept is simply combating for freedom, dignity.”

Alinejad, a US citizen, then urged President Joe Biden to expel Iranian diplomats within the nation.

“The Iranian regime twice challenged the US authorities on US soil. I need to have freedom in the US of America. Kick them out. In case you don’t, imagine me, they’re going to come back after extra Americans,” she mentioned.

FBI informs of her of man with rifle

Alinejad was dwelling Thursday when federal brokers knowledgeable her concerning the armed individual in her Brooklyn neighborhood, she mentioned.

“I used to be instructed by the FBI to keep away from your private home,” Alinejad instructed CNN on Sunday. “I used to be shocked. I couldn’t even imagine it. I used to be telling myself, ‘If I opened the door, what was I going to do?’ “

Officers with the New York Police Division arrested Khalid Mehdiyev on Thursday as he drove away from the Brooklyn neighborhood after he didn’t cease at a cease signal, based on a federal felony grievance. NYPD officers discovered he was driving with no license as a result of it had been suspended, the grievance says.

Police later discovered within the again seat of his car a suitcase containing a “Norinco AK-47-style assault rifle … loaded with a spherical within the chamber and {a magazine} connected, together with a separate second journal, and a complete of roughly 66 rounds of ammunition,” the grievance says. Officers additionally discovered $1,100 in $100 payments, the grievance says.

He’s charged with possessing a firearm with an “obliterated” serial quantity, the grievance says. Mehdiyev is about to be again in courtroom August 12. His legal professional, Stephanie Marie Carvlin, instructed CNN the protection has no remark at this stage within the case.

Regulation enforcement officers noticed Mehdiyev, a Yonkers resident, within the Brooklyn neighborhood on two events final week and likewise found he had been issued a parking ticket in the identical neighborhood the week earlier than, on July 23, based on the grievance.

On Thursday morning, Mehdiyev drove a grey Subaru Forester SUV and stayed within the space for a number of hours the place he “behaved suspiciously,” the grievance states. On one event, Mehdiyev received out and in of his automotive a number of occasions, ordered meals supply to his automotive and approached a house within the neighborhood — the place Alinejad resides — peering contained in the home windows and attempting to open the entrance door, the grievance says.

Following his arrest, police additionally recovered two license plates with completely different numbers and from completely different states than the Illinois tag on the Subaru, the grievance says.

Mehdiyev, based on the grievance, instructed authorities his lease in Yonkers was too excessive, and he was visiting Brooklyn to search out an residence. The money was for a resort room, and he approached the house within the Brooklyn neighborhood as a result of he supposed to ask if the house owners would possibly lease him a room, earlier than altering his thoughts, the grievance says he instructed investigators. The Subaru was borrowed, and he didn’t know the suitcase — which he mentioned was not his — contained a rifle, he initially instructed investigators, based on the grievance.

The suspect later instructed brokers “the AK-47 was his, and that he had been in Brooklyn as a result of he was searching for somebody,” earlier than invoking his proper to counsel, the grievance says.

‘My stepchildren reside in the identical home’

Alinejad was on a Zoom name with the chairman of the Human Rights Basis, Garry Kasparov, and Venezuelan politician and opposition chief Leopoldo López when she discovered concerning the armed individual, she mentioned.

The trio was discussing how they will unite, because the Russian, Venezuelan and Iranian “dictators” are doing, she mentioned Monday.

“I’m glad my pal @AlinejadMasih is wholesome and secure and that the police acted capably in opposition to what might need been a lethal state of affairs,” Kasparov tweeted from his verified account Sunday.

Alinejad shared a safety video on Twitter displaying the person she says federal brokers instructed her was the identical man arrested by police Thursday.

“These are the scary scenes capturing a person who tried to enter my home in New York with a loaded gun to kill me,” she tweeted, although no gun will be seen within the picture. “Final 12 months the FBI stopped the Islamic Republic from kidnapping me. My crime is giving voice to unvoiced individuals. The US administration should be robust on terror.”

She retains watching the video, considering, “Wow,” she instructed CNN on Monday.

“My stepchildren reside in the identical home, and simply think about if the man had opened hearth. Who is aware of what number of of my neighbors would’ve been killed? My stunning and supportive neighbors,” she mentioned.

Alinejad has spoken month-to-month with federal brokers for the reason that alleged kidnapping try final 12 months, she mentioned.

“I actually thought that the plot was over. I believed, ‘OK, I can concentrate on my job’ — which I’m going to do. Nothing goes to cease me,” she mentioned. “I see this because the continuation of attempting to maintain Iranian ladies down.”

A voice for the ‘unvoiced’

Alinejad, who incessantly shares images and movies of what she calls “unvoiced” Iranian ladies by means of her social media accounts, says Iranian officers just lately warned her about her activism.

A spokesperson for Iran’s Headquarters for Promotion of Advantage and Prevention of Vice introduced in July anybody who sends movies to Alinejad relating to the hijab or commits different anti-government actions is topic to a sentence of as much as 10 years in jail.

Alinejad mentioned the Iranian authorities has additionally pressured ladies to publicly denounce her for her work.

“I don’t have any weapon. My weapon is that this. My weapon is my cellular, and I’ve images on my Instagram and my social media, I publish the movies of Iranian moms. The Iranian regime killed their sons. I simply give them voice. I give voice to those ladies,” she mentioned.

The regime has jailed her brother, introduced her sister onto TV to disown her and interrogated her mom “for hours and hours” to punish her, she mentioned.

“I don’t have any enemy. I’m not a felony so, in fact, that is the Iranian regime,” she instructed CNN. “When the US authorities doesn’t take sturdy motion, in fact, they really feel extra highly effective to proceed this. I see this as a sample, a continuation of oppressing ladies, oppressing dissidents exterior Iran.”

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CNN’s Liam Reilly, Brianna Keilar and John Avlon contributed to this report.

‘Go to hell,’ journalist tells Iran after a man with a loaded rifle was arrested near her Brooklyn home