Iranian-American dissident Masih Alinejad says the Biden administration advised her to change her identity and disappear, in light of threats on her life by the Islamic Republic.
Appearing in a US House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday, Alinejad revealed that she was offered witness protection, typically offered to people “whose lives are in danger as a result of their testimony against drug traffickers, terrorists, organized crime members and other major criminals,” as stated in the US Marshals Service website.
During the session, titled Iran’s Escalating Threats: Assessing US Policy Toward Iran’s Malign Activities, Alinejad also revealed that earlier this year the White House had warned her of at least 31 threats against her life.
“In an email, the administration strongly advised me to go into witness protection,” Alinejad said. “It means that I have to change my identity… to disappear. This is what exactly the Islamic Republic of Iran wants.”
The State Department is yet to respond to Iran International's request to provide comments on the issue.
The Biden administration has been heavily criticized this week for agreeing to release $6 billion frozen Iranian funds as part of a prisoner swap deal.
The criticism was echoed by some in the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, including Congressmen Rich McCormick (R-GA), Mike Lawler (R-NY) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX).
Masih Alinejad did also speak against the deal. She censured the Biden administration for showing “weakness” and trying “not to antagonize the ayatollahs”, claiming that the released funds will end up in the IRGC coffers, helping them in their attack on American interests as well as their suppression of the Iranian people.
“The money goes to the ‘morality police’ to kill more Mahsa Aminis,” she said, referring to the 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman whose death ignited the Women, Life, Freedom protests.
The rights activists added, “The money goes to the Revolutionary Guards to kill more children in Ukraine. The money goes to the relatives of the ayatollahs to actually promote Sharia laws to oppress more women in Iran.
“We all know that,” she concluded.