The Department of Justice released an indictment this week against a number of Iranian intelligence officials, who are still at large, for plotting to kidnap an American journalist and activist Masih Alinejad in New York City.
When asked about the situation, the State Department referred to the situation as a "law enforcement matter."
"The Iranian government continues to deny Iranians their human rights, including through severe restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression. The Biden Administration will continues to call out and stand up to Iran's human rights abuses, and will support others who do so both here and in Iran," a State Department spokesperson released in a statement to POLITICO. "This is a law enforcement matter and we refer you to the Department of Justice for any further inquiries."
The classification of the situation as simply a "law enforcement matter" is getting significant blowback, including from Alinejad herself.
"I'm looking for forceful action," Alinejad said during an interview Wednesday with Fox News about the situation.
What are they even talking about?— Richard Goldberg (@rich_goldberg) July 14, 2021
This is about a US journalist that Iran was going to kidnap off US soil.
Have they lost their minds? How desperate can you be to save a flawed nuclear deal that kidnapping Americans is just some law enforcement matter of no concern to State? https://t.co/fceJjRajV5
Seemingly the @StateDept appointed a gang of children in charge of #Iran policy— Cyrus S (@CyrusShares) July 14, 2021
An intelligence unit of hostile Terror sponsoring anti-American jihadi regime trying to kidnap Americans and send to Iran for execution is a NATIONAL SECURITY MATTER not just Law Enforcement
How terribly convenient and deficient of @POTUS— Jessica Emami, PhD (@EmamiPhd) July 14, 2021
Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a harsher tone and applauded Alinejad for her bravery.
.@AlinejadMasih is a freedom loving Iranian American. Iranian thugs plotted to abduct her in America to send her to the Iranian regime, the world's leading state sponsor of terror. Any deal with Iran must stop their spread of terrorism. https://t.co/5Mry0uOwi5 pic.twitter.com/T5UAaAPNF2— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) July 14, 2021