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Brother of UChicago assistant professor arrested on charges of spying for Iran

Published: August 23, 2018
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Attorney claims charges are politically motivated

The brother of an assistant professor of Islamic Studies at University of Chicago is facing criminal charges from the FBI for allegedly being an Iranian agent.

The Chicago Maroon reports the man, Ahmadreza Mohammadi Doostdar, was arrested August 9 and is believed to have used the UChicago hotel to conduct his activities, which included surveillance of a Jewish center on campus. Another man named Majid Ghorbani was also arrested for allegedly operating on behalf of the Iranian government.

According to a DOJ press release, the pair are suspected of “conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States, and collecting identifying information about American citizens and U.S. nationals who are members of the group Mujahedin-e Khalq,” an exiled political-militant organization that advocates for violent regime change in Iran.

Among the accusations against two, according to the release, is that:

On or about July 21, 2017, Doostdar is alleged to have conducted surveillance of the Rohr Chabad House, a Jewish institution located in Chicago, including photographing the security features surrounding the facility. On or about Sept. 20, 2017, Ghorbani is alleged to have attended a MEK rally in New York City, during which he photographed individuals participating in the protest against the current Iranian regime.

The Maroon also reports that Doostdar’s attorney believes the charges are politically motivated because they follow the U.S. government’s reinstatement of sanctions on Iran.

Read the report here and the press release here.

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