On Tuesday, the Department of Justice revealed a plot by Iranian agents operating in the U.S. to kidnap the journalist Masih Alinejad, who has conducted a long-running and vigorous campaign to encourage women in the Islamic Republic to protest laws that require them to wear the hijab. The plotters sought to spirit Alinejad via Venezuela to the Islamic Republic, where she would likely be imprisoned and tortured, if not killed. Benny Avni writes:
Alinejad says the kidnapping plot will not deter her from fighting for human rights in Iran. Will America now back her? President Biden vowed to place human rights at the top of his foreign-policy [agenda]. Alinejad’s campaign, however, got no recognition from the administration. Unlike Secretary of State Pompeo, who warmly and publicly hosted her at the State Department in 2019, Secretary Blinken has yet to meet with her or acknowledge her feminist message.
[Instead], the State Department issued a bland statement, generically calling on the Iranian regime to respect human rights and freedom of expression, adding that the kidnapping plot “is a law-enforcement matter and we refer you to the Department of Justice for any further inquiries.”
Really? . . . What part of [a foreign regime’s attempt to kidnap a U.S. citizen] is no “matter” for our top diplomats? At least Washington could now demand the release of Alireza Alinejad, who was arrested, convicted in a show trial and sentenced to eight years in Iranian dungeons for the “crime” of being Masih Alinejad’s brother.
To add insult to injury, the administration announced, on the day Justice unsealed the indictment, the removal of Iranian oil executives from a list of sanctioned regime officials. It was almost as if Washington rewarded Tehran for a failed plot to seize an American woman on our own soil.