Even as Iran-US relations are at a new low following a deadly drone attack on American troops in Jordan, Tehran allegedly hired two Canadians to carry out assassinations on US soil.
The scandal was blown open after the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment.
According to the unsealed documents, the Iranian, an alleged drug dealer, was being handled by an officer in Iranian ministry of intelligence.
Trudeau’s Love for IRGC
On the other hand, the alleged involvement of Canadian nationals has raised serious concerns about Ottawa’s own behaviour when it comes to dealing with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Canada watchers burst into angry reactions in the wake of these revelations, accusing Justin Trudeau of providing safe haven to terrorists.
While Ottawa has kept reiterating that it would place IRGC on its list of terror organisations, it has not moved an inch in the direction.
Canada has often referred to the IRGC as a terror body and announced that it would not allow entry to its top leadership, yet it has shied away from formally designating IRGC as a terrorist organisation. Incidentally, a wing of IRGC—Quds Force—has found itself on this list that names 73 entities in all.
Trudeau has run into troubled waters with India too on a similar issue. New Delhi has long pointed at Trudeau using Khalistani terrorists on its soil for his narrow political games and gains.
The US Department of Justice describes this case as part of a disturbing pattern of transnational repression, where operatives from countries like Iran and China target dissidents with harassment, intimidation, and violence.
Who is this Iranian Agent?
The Iranian man, Naji Sharifi Zindashti, has been charged alongside two Canadians for conspiring to kill two individuals, including a defector from Iran, who sought refuge in the United States.
Zindashti, believed to be residing in Iran, is accused of operating a criminal network on behalf of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, orchestrating acts of transnational repression against critics of the regime. The plot, allegedly involving Zindashti and the two Canadians, was disrupted between December 2020 and March 2021.
Although the intended victims were not named, prosecutors revealed that they had fled to the US after one individual defected from Iran. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen emphasised the message to those plotting on US soil, stating that the Department of Justice will relentlessly pursue justice.
Zindashti is portrayed as a drug trafficker, coordinating criminal activities that include assassinations and kidnappings. In response, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Zindashti and associates, prohibiting them from engaging in US business transactions.
The UK also imposed sanctions, citing threats to the lives of 15 Iranians on British soil in the past two years, allegedly orchestrated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard through organized crime groups.
Who are the Canadian Assassins?
The indictment reveals that Zindashti collaborated with two Canadian men, Damion Patrick John Ryan and Adam Richard Pearson, using encrypted messaging to recruit potential assassins for the murders in the US.
Ryan, identified as a “full-patch member of the outlaw Hells Angels motorcycle club,” and Pearson are currently imprisoned in Canada on unrelated charges.
Damion Patrick John Ryan is, reportedly, a member of the ‘Hells Angels’ criminal gang and allegedly assembled a team of hitmen in the late 2020s and early 2021s. He was allegedly working with another Canadian Adam Richard Pearson, an illegal residing in Minnesota.
All three defendants, charged in federal court in Minnesota, face allegations of conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. Pearson also faces additional firearms charges.
This case is not the first directed at Iranian efforts against perceived political opponents, with previous charges involving plots against an Iranian American author and activist, as well as a failed attempt to assassinate John Bolton, the former Trump administration national security adviser.
Source » firstpost