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Masih Alinejad, target of alleged assassination plot for speaking out about against Iran's regime: "They cannot kill the idea"

CBS New York 1/31/2023 Tony Aiello

YONKERS, N.Y. - A Yonkers man will enter a plea Tuesday in an alleged murder-for-hire plot

Prosecutors say he and two co-defendants targeted a Brooklyn woman - a U.S. citizen and human rights activist working to end repression in her native Iran. 

"The country where I was born, Iran, the government wants to kill me. But my adopted country wants to protect me," said Masih Alinejad. 

Alinejad's social media campaign against Iran's human rights violations and discrimination of women put a target on her back. 

"I got shocked when I heard from the FBI about the details of assassination plot," Alinejad said. 

Three men are charged in a murder-for-hire plot. One of them, 24-year-old Khaled Mehdiyev, lived in Yonkers. 

According to the federal indictment, during the week of July 20th last summer, Mehdiyev repeatedly drove from Yonkers to Brooklyn to scope out Alinejad's home and neighborhood.

The doorbell camera at Alinejad's home recorded video of Mehdiyev on her front porch

The feds say he had a Norinco assault rifle and ammo in his car, and texted alleged coconspirators "it will be a show once she steps out of the house." 

Prosecutors say Mehdiyev was paid $30,000 for his role in the plot, and that it was not the first time Iran targeted Alinejad. 

"Last year we indicted four individuals connected to Iranian intelligence with a kidnapping conspiracy aimed at forcibly returning the victim to Iran," said Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen. 

Alinejad says she won't live in fear, and is inspired by Iranians braving punishment by protesting the repressive government. 

"Maybe on the third attempt, they kill me. But they cannot kill the idea, they cannot kill the hope that people can bring this regime down," Alinejad said. 

The feds say the search continues for others involved in the alleged plot. 

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