Addressing the indictment on TV on Tuesday, she said: “Initially, I naturally felt shocked. Then I got worried… Then I thought about it: we have been scared of the Islamic regime for a lifetime. But now the Islamic regime is scared of me.”
The indictment says the Iranian officials were aided by an Iranian resident of California, Niloufar Bahadorifar.
She was arrested this month and charged with providing financial aid to the conspirators and violating sanctions against Iran. She has pleaded not guilty.
William Sweeney, the head of New York’s FBI office, said it sounded a bit like “some far-fetched movie plot”.
“We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a US-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran,” he said. “Not on our watch.”
In 2019, the Paris-based dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam was enticed by Iranian agents to travel to Iraq, where he was kidnapped and taken to Iran. He was executed last year after being convicted of sedition charges.