Man with loaded AK-47 arrested near Iranian journalist’s Brooklyn home

Authorities are investigating whether the man in custody was there to harm her, a law enforcement official told CNN.

In an interview with CNN, she said the Iranian government is targeting her and her family for her efforts to give voice to those who are oppressed in the country where she was born.

“I’m not scared (for) my life at all because I know what I’m doing. I only have one life, and I’ve dedicated my life to giving voice to Iranians in Iran who are descending bravely on the streets – in the face of guns and bullets to protest the Iranian regime – but this is happening in America,” she said.

Dictators are joining forces, sharing playbooks, she said, and if democratic countries don’t do the same, more Americans will be targeted. Towards the end of the television interview, she asked if she could speak directly to the Iranian regime.

Facing the camera, her curly hair uncovered and decorated with a flower, she said, “Damn you. I’m not afraid of you. I only have one life. You care about power. I care about my dignity and freedom like millions of other people inside Iran. I’m not afraid of you. You can kill me, but you can’t kill the idea. The idea is just to fight for freedom, dignity.

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

“The Iranian regime has twice challenged the US government on US soil. I deserve to have freedom in the United States of America. Kick them out. If you don’t, believe me, they will s ‘take on more American citizens,’ she said.

The FBI informs him of a man with a gun

Alinejad was at home on Thursday when federal agents notified her of an armed person in her Brooklyn neighborhood, she said.

“The FBI told me to stay away from your place,” Alinejad told CNN on Sunday. “I was in shock. I couldn’t even believe it. I was like, ‘If I opened the door, what was I going to do?’ “

New York Police Department officers arrested Khalid Mehdiyev on Thursday as he drove away from the Brooklyn neighborhood after failing to stop at a stop sign, according to a federal criminal complaint. NYPD officers discovered he was driving without a license because he had been suspended, says the complaint.

Police then found in the back seat of his vehicle a suitcase containing a “Norinco AK-47 style assault rifle … loaded with a bullet in the chamber and a magazine attached, along with a second separate magazine, and a total of approximately 66 rounds,” the complaint states. Officers also found $1,100 on $100 bills, the complaint states.

He is charged with possession of a firearm with a “obliterated” serial number, the complaint states. Mehdiyev is expected to be back in court on August 12. His attorney, Stephanie Marie Carvlin, told CNN the defense had no comment at this stage of the case.

Authorities found a loaded rifle, a second magazine and $1,100 in Mehdiyev's vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.

Law enforcement officials saw Mehdiyev, a Yonkers resident, in the Brooklyn borough twice last week and also discovered he had received a parking ticket in the same neighborhood the previous week, on July 23, according to the complaint.

On Thursday morning, Mehdiyev drove a gray Subaru Forester SUV and stayed in the area for several hours where he “behaved suspiciously,” the complaint states. On one occasion, Mehdiyev repeatedly got in and out of his car, ordered food from his car and approached a house in the neighborhood – where Alinejad resides – looking inside the windows and trying to open the front door, according to the complaint. .

After his arrest, police also recovered two license plates with different numbers and from different states from the Illinois label on the Subaru, the complaint says.

Mehdiyev, according to the complaint, told authorities that his rent in Yonkers was too high and that he was traveling to Brooklyn to find an apartment. The money was for a hotel room, and he approached the house in the Brooklyn neighborhood because he intended to ask if the landlords could rent him a room, before changing his mind, according to the complaint, he told investigators. The Subaru was borrowed and he was unaware that the suitcase – which he said was not his – contained a rifle, he initially told investigators, according to the complaint.

The suspect then told officers “the AK-47 was his and he was in Brooklyn looking for someone,” before invoking his right to an attorney, the complaint states.

“My stepchildren live in the same house”

Alinejad was on a Zoom call with Human Rights Foundation President Garry Kasparov and Venezuelan politician and opposition leader Leopoldo López when she discovered the armed person, she said.

The trio were discussing how they could unite, as Russian, Venezuelan and Iranian “dictators” do, she said on Monday.

“I’m glad my friend @AlinejadMasih is healthy and safe and that the police acted competently against what could have been a deadly situation,” Kasparov said. tweeted from his verified account on Sunday.

Alinejad shared a security video on Twitter showing the man she says federal agents told her was the same man arrested by police on Thursday.

“These are the chilling scenes capturing a man who tried to enter my house in New York with a loaded gun to kill me,” she tweeted, although no gun was visible in the image. “Last year, the FBI prevented the Islamic Republic from kidnapping me. My crime is to give voice to the voiceless. The American administration must be tough on terrorism.”

She keeps watching the video thinking “Wow,” she told CNN on Monday.

“My stepchildren live in the same house, and imagine if the guy had opened fire. Who knows how many of my neighbors would have been killed? My stepchildren supporting me,” she said.

Alinejad has spoken monthly with federal agents since the alleged kidnapping attempt last year, she said.

“I really thought the storyline was over. I was like, ‘OK, I can focus on my job’ – which I’m going to do. Nothing’s going to stop me,” she said. “I see this as the continuation of trying to reduce Iranian women.”

A voice for the “speechless”

Alinejad, who frequently shares photos and videos of what she calls “speechless” Iranian women through her social media accounts, said Iranian officials recently warned her against her activism.

A spokesperson for Iran’s Headquarters for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice announced in July that anyone who sends videos to Alinejad regarding the hijab or commits other anti-government activities will face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Alinejad said the Iranian government also forced women to publicly denounce her for her work.

“I don’t have a gun. My gun is this. My gun is my cell phone, and I have photos on my Instagram and social media, I post the videos of Iranian mothers. The Iranian regime has killed their sons. I just give their voice. I give voice to these women,” she said.

The regime imprisoned her brother, brought her sister on TV to disown her and interrogated her mother “for hours and hours” to punish her, she said.

“I don’t have an enemy. I’m not a criminal, so of course it’s the Iranian regime,” she told CNN. “When the US government doesn’t take strong action, of course, it feels more powerful to continue. I see this as a pattern, a continuation of the oppression of women, the oppression of dissidents outside of the Iran.”

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

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