(November 6, 2019 / JNS) Two Iranians have pleaded guilty to spying on America.
Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, an Iranian citizen living in California, pleaded guilty to collecting intelligence on the Rohr Chabad House at the University of Chicago, where they allegedly photographed the building’s security features.
Doostdar entered his plea on Oct. 8, while Ghorbani did so on Monday, both to reduced charges.
They were both arrested last year.
Doostdar came to the United States around July 2017 to obtain information on those Iran considers adversaries, such as Israeli and Jewish places, in addition to people associated with the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, a group that advocates the overthrow of the current Iranian government, according to the indictment.
The men met in California around December 2017, where Doostdar paid Ghorbani approximately $2,000 for 28 photographs of the MEK rally in New York three months earlier. Some of the photographs contained notes identifying the participants.
The indictment also alleged that Ghorbani traveled to Iran around March 2018, after telling Doostdar he would be going to the Islamic republic to conduct an “in-person briefing.”
Ghorbani attended the MEK-affiliated 2018 Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights in Washington on May 5. During the conference, Ghorbani apparently photographed certain attendees and speakers.
On May 14 of that year, Doostdar discussed with Ghorbani undercover practices the latter should use in providing Iran with information.
“The Iranian government thought it could get away with conducting surveillance on individuals in the United States by sending one of its agents here to task a permanent resident with conducting and collecting that surveillance,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia in a statement.
Doostdar is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17, while Ghorbani is to be sentenced on Jan. 15.
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