(Washington) A woman has been sentenced to four years in prison for providing material support to the attempted kidnapping on American soil of Iranian dissident Masih Alinejad, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday.

Niloufar Bahadorifar, a 48-year-old Iranian-American, pleaded guilty in December to providing financial assistance to Iran in violation of US sanctions.

She was sentenced Friday by a federal judge to four years in prison followed by three years of probation.

She was accused of having helped, from 2015, Iranians, including Mahmoud Khazein, whom the United States considers to be an intelligence agent of Tehran, to gain access to the American financial system.

According to American justice, she was thus at the origin of a payment to a private detective, recruited in 2020 to monitor the anti-veiling activist Masih Alinejad, who lives in New York.

His payment had “concealed the origin of the funds so that the detective did not know that he worked for the Iranian services”, specifies the department.

She was never prosecuted for the attempted kidnapping, unlike Mahmoud Khazein and three other Iranian agents, who were charged in 2021.

The four men are accused of having organized the surveillance of the journalist and her relatives, filmed and photographed without their knowledge for several months, with the aim of kidnapping her. They then planned, according to the Americans, to evacuate her by boat to Venezuela, in order to repatriate her ultimately to Iran.

Tehran has always denied these accusations, describing them as “absurd and baseless”.

Masih Alinejah, 45, who had to leave his country in 2009, has been known since 2014 for launching the “MyStealthyFreedom” movement on social media, encouraging Iranian women to protest against the obligation of wearing the veil in their country.

According to American justice, she was targeted in July by a separate assassination attempt, for which three people were arrested.