The United States will continue nuclear talks with Iran, the White House said on Wednesday, after an Iranian plot to kidnap a US-based journalist was made public.
A US Justice Department indictment unsealed on Tuesday showed prosecutors have charged four Iranians in a kidnapping plot of the journalist. The White House condemns the plot, press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Iran’s “actions to attempt to silence the voices of those peacefully working to address the situation both inside of Iran and outside of Iran are appalling,” she said during a press briefing.
“We categorically condemn Iran’s dangerous and despicable reported plot to kidnap a US citizen on US soil,” she added.
She said law enforcement actions like those announced Tuesday were part of a strategy to defend US citizens and interests that includes actions taken to defend US forces from Iranian-backed militant groups and diplomatic efforts to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.
However, Psaki said that “we will continue to pursue those talks, pursue the diplomatic path forward, which we think is in our interests and continues to be constructive.”
US envoy to Iran also condemned Tehran’s continued attempts to kidnap journalists and critics of the regime in order to silence dissent, saying he was “greatly disturbed” by the plot.
“Even as the US remains willing to engage in diplomacy toward a mutual return to the JCPOA, we will not hesitate to defend our citizens and call out Iran’s human rights abuses,” he said, referring to an acronym for the Iranian nuclear deal.
The American authorities, quoting from an indictment, say the individuals plotted to kidnap a prominent Iranian opposition activist and writer in exile from her Brooklyn residence and take her to Tehran.
The indictment in Manhattan federal court described the plot as part of a wider plan to lure three individuals in Canada and a fifth person in the United Kingdom, along with individuals in the United Arab Emirates, to Iran.
The identities of the alleged victims were not released but Brooklyn-based Masih Alinejad confirmed that authorities had told her she was among the targets.
Source: Arab News