Iranian Agents Plotted To Attack Jews in Sweden: Report

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi (Getty Images)
February 6, 2024

Suspected Iranian agents allegedly plotted to assassinate Jews in Sweden, including an American citizen, Sweden's national radio broadcaster reported Tuesday.

Swedish authorities investigated an Iranian couple, Mahdi Ramezani and Fereshteh Sanaeifarid, on the suspicion that they acted on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, allegedly trying to kill a leader of Sweden's Jewish communities as well as a dual American citizen, according to Sveriges Radio. Ramezani and Sanaeifarid are believed to have entered Sweden pretending to be Afghan refugees in 2015 before receiving asylum in 2017.

"I think that what Iran wants to do is to harm Israel, and I think it’s very difficult for them to do these kind of things in Israel," Aron Verständig, who leads the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, told the outlet. "So instead they are, I mean, randomly choosing people who have some kind of official position in the Jewish diaspora and trying to create fear."

Authorities did not have enough evidence to prosecute the couple, but they deemed the two a security risk, resulting in their deportation to Iran in 2022, per Sveriges Radio. Because one of the suspected targets was a citizen of the United States, the FBI conducted its own investigation. The Justice Department assigned a federal prosecutor to the case, but it did not file any charges.

"We have strong belief that they were here on a mission on behalf of Iran," Swedish deputy chief prosecutor Hans Ihrman told the outlet. "They were seen here in Sweden as a very severe security threat. And that's the reason why they were expelled, even if we couldn't prosecute them."

The news about the couple comes just over a week after federal prosecutors in the United States alleged that an Iranian national attempted to enlist two Canadians—one of them a member of the Hells Angels biker gang—to kill a dissident who fled the Islamic Republic to America.