WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against two men accused of being spies for the Iranian government and conducting surveillance near the University of Chicago.
Ahmadreza Mohammadi Doostdar and Majid Ghorbani were arrested earlier this month for allegedly working as spies for the Iranian government. Doostdar is a U.S. citizen. Ghorbani is a legal permanent resident of the United States.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers WGN 9 News
The indictment states that Doostdar traveled from Iran to the United States in July 2017 with the sole purpose of collecting intelligence about entities considered to be enemies of the Iranian government, including Israeli and Jewish interests as well as people associated with MEK.
The Justice Department also stated that Doostdar conducted surveillance in July 2017 of an ultraorthodox Jewish facility in Chicago, the Rohr Chabad House, including photographing the security features.
“This alleged activity demonstrates a continued interest in targeting the United States, as well as potential opposition groups located in the United States,” said Michael McGarrity, acting executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch.
Ghorbani attended an MEK rally in New York on Sept. 20, 2017, to protest the current Iranian government, taking photographs of the participants, which he later passed on to Doostdar and was paid.
MEK is described as; The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq is an Iranian political–militant organization in exile that advocates the violent overthrow of the current government in Iran.
MEK was listed as terrorist group in US until 2012 – but its opposition to Tehran has attracted backing of John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and others bent on regime change in Iran.
The photos, many with handwritten notes about the participants, were found in Ghorbani’s luggage at a U.S. airport as he was returning to Iran in December 2017, the Justice Department said.
The men were caught carrying large sums of cash when they were arrested. Prosecutors say photos and information on American citizens – including members of Congress – were also discovered hidden in undergarments in one of their suitcases.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.