Last Thursday, a 23-year-old man named Khalid Mehdiyev was arrested in Brooklyn outside the home of Masih Alinejad. She is the astonishingly courageous Iranian dissident who so enrages the mullahs who lead the Islamic Republic that they mounted an audacious plot last year to kidnap her in New York and take her back to Iran, where she would have faced unimaginable horrors. Was this a second attempt by the Iranians to rid themselves of one of their highest-profile and most trenchant critics? If so, it highlights yet again Old Joe Biden’s appalling weakness. Weakness, after all, invites aggression.
According to the New York Post, Mehdiyev (which is a common Azeri name; there is a sizable Azeri minority in Iran) had a loaded AK-47 and over a thousand dollars in cash, and had been hanging around Alinejad’s home for two days before he was finally apprehended. The federal complaint “makes no explicit connection between Mehdiyev and Alinejad but says the accused had focused on an unnamed Brooklyn ‘residence.’”
Mehdiyev showed all the signs of a determined and potentially lethal stalker: “Law enforcement observed Mehdiyev sitting in a gray Subaru Forester SUV with an Illinois license plate for several hours on Wednesday and Thursday. Feds said he ordered food to his car and looked inside of the windows and attempted to open the front door of the residence he was parked outside of.” Finally, on Thursday, Mehdiyev had the poor judgment to run a stop sign and was stopped by the NYPD, which found that he had no driver’s license.
When cops searched his car, they found, apparently along with two days’ worth of takeout cartons, “the loaded AK-47 with multiple magazines, additional rounds of ammunition and a suitcase full of cash. Two other different license plates were also found.”
But Mehdiyev insists that his odd and suspicious behavior was entirely innocent: he “told police he had been staying in Yonkers, but the rent was too high there and he was looking for a new place to live in the Brooklyn neighborhood. He said he had tried to open the front door of the residence so he could knock on an inside door to ask if he could rent a room.” He apparently didn’t explain why he sat outside the place for two days, and he had no plausible explanation for anything else, either: “He initially told officers he had borrowed the car and he didn’t know anything about the gun and said the suitcase was not his.” Yeah, you know how AK-47s can just appear in your car without your knowledge or consent, and what can anyone do about that?
Later, apparently realizing how ridiculous his initial story sounded, Mehdiyev “confessed that the gun was his and he had been in Brooklyn ‘because he was looking for someone’” — an ominous statement when you’re carrying an AK during your search.
Masih Alinejad is a particular thorn in the side of the mullahs because she highlights on a daily basis the pettiness and cruelty of the Islamic Republic. She routinely posts videos that have been sent to her (at tremendous risk) from inside Iran, showing Iranian women risking multiyear prison sentences for the crime of taking off their hijab, the arrest and torture of women who have done so, and the Iranian regime’s determination to punish women who dare to resist their oppression. On Wednesday, she posted a video showing the “unspeakable cruelty” of the Iranian regime in killing over 1,700 stray dogs. (Dogs are considered unclean in Islam, and Muhammad, the Islamic prophet, ordered that they be killed.)
In a shame/honor culture, Masih Alinejad is doing something that the Iranian mullahs likely consider worse than death: she is humiliating them. And so it wouldn’t be in the least surprising if it turns out that they sent Khalid Mehdiyev, as they sent the kidnappers who were foiled last year. Old Joe Biden presents such an image of fecklessness and lack of control that it’s easy to see why the mullahs would think that this is the perfect time to strike within the United States: if Masih Alinejad were ever abducted or killed, Joe will stumble and mumble through some paper-tiger statement and continue his indefatigable pursuit of a new Iranian nuclear deal. So for the mullahs, there is no downside to continuing to try to get her in their clutches. The only people who would pay a price, as always with Joe’s actions and inactions, are the free people of the world.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 25 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.