Two men, one with an Iranian name were arrested in Washington on Wednesday for posing as federal agents and giving expensive gifts to Secret Service personnel.
There was no reference in the media to the nationality status of the suspects, whether they were American citizens or legal residents, nor any reference to their possible overseas connections.
One of the men was identified as Arian Taherzadeh, an Iranian-sounding name, while the second individual named Haidar Ali could be of a different Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian origin.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents stormed an apartment building where Taherzadeh was said to have several apartments, offering free of rent to Secret Service agents he had befriended, posing as a Homeland Security undercover investigator.
At least one Secret Service agent assigned to First Lady Jill Biden’s detail was a target of the suspects, who gave or offered expensive gifts to federal agents for yet unexplained reasons.
The conspiracy began in February 2020, according to the Washington Post. This coincides with the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020, for which Iran has vowed retaliation against former American officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Whether the suspects have any connection with Iran could be speculative at this point before US authorities release more information on the case.
On January 6, 2021 the commander of Iran's Qods (Quds) Force Esmail Ghaani was quoted by Iranian media as saying that "revenge [for Soleimani] has started from day one and you will not have peace even in your own homes...and it cannot be ruled out that we take revenge in your own home."
FBI documents submitted to the US District Court show anti-terrorism agents are involved in the case, requesting search warrants for the suspects’ social media accounts and signing the criminal complaint.
Dozens of federal agents were seen in and around the apartment building on Wednesday, some carrying seized evidence presumably from the apartments belonging to Taherzadeh.
The suspects were fully set up to impersonate federal agents with an official-looking SUV and Tehrazadeh offered his targets gifts, such as weapons and generators, use of vehicles and apartments.
The complaint filed with the court said that four Secret Service personnel were placed on administrative leave on April 4. Both suspects are scheduled to appear in US District Court on Thursday and remain in custody.
The investigation began March 14, according to media reports, when accidently the men were brought to the attention of a US Postal Service inspector visiting the building in question. Residents identified the suspects as federal agents to the inspector, which led to the discovery that they were impersonators.