Iranians in America Report Steady Stream of Death Threats

Exiled Iranian dissidents, human rights campaigners and Iranian-American advocacy groups are fearing for their lives as they receive what they say are ongoing death threats from Iranian intelligence agents and regime sympathizers working in the United States.

"I have to change my phone number every month because Iranian intelligence are threatening to kill me," human rights activist Ahmad Batebi, who fled to the U.S. from Iran in 2008, told Now working with the Voice of America, the international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government, Batebi says he spent nine years in Iranian prisons, where he was tortured for his affiliation with student groups working against the Tehran government.

He said the Iranian agents who are threatening him are working under diplomatic cover at the Iranian mission to the United Nations or coming here on political visas to spy on regime opponents. The U.S. broke formal diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980.

"They say, 'You are not safe in the U.S. or anywhere, and if we don’t get you in America we will get you in Europe,'" he said.

Another Iranian, Mohsen Sazegara, a former politician-turned-activist who now lives in Virginia, says he routinely receives death threats and was singled out recently by Iran’s deputy minister for intelligence, who Sazegara says declared, "We will catch you wherever you are."

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