National Security

Iran Abducts American Resident in Dubai

Iranian flag
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California resident Jamshid Sharmahd was abducted by Iran while visiting Dubai, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

A member of the California-based Kingdom Assembly of Iran's Tondar militant wing, Sharmahd is a vocal member of the armed opposition to the Ayatollah regime. Though Iran has not released details about how it took Sharmahd into custody, the country has accused him of orchestrating a 2008 mosque bombing that killed 14 people and wounded more than 200.

Sharmahd's family maintains that he was only a spokesman for the opposition group and was not an active and violent member. Mobile phone data shared with reporters by Sharmahd's family indicate that he was taken to Oman and ultimately Iran, likely against his will. The Iranian Intelligence Ministry released a picture of Sharmahd blindfolded on Saturday. 

"We're seeking support from any democratic country, any free country," Sharmahd's son, Shayan, told reporters. "It is a violation of human rights. You can't just pick someone up in a third country and drag them into your country."

A resident of California for years, Sharmahd was on the path to obtaining U.S. citizenship. He is also a citizen of Germany. The German embassy in Tehran has made an inquiry for more information on Sharmahd's arrest, but Iran has so far stonewalled such efforts.

Sharmahd has consistently been a vocal critic of the Khamenei regime. In a December video, he called for regime change in Tehran. "We are not only seeking the liberation of the homeland, but we are also moving toward a special direction, and that is to be Iranian," Sharmahd said in Farsi.

The increasingly unstable Iran recently executed at least one Iranian national for suspected American espionage. Last week, a wave of protests swept through the country as it reels from a flattened economy, U.S. sanctions, and a series of unidentified explosions, suspected to be of Israeli or American origin, in military and industrial areas.