The Iranian foreign ministry accused the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its CEO of practicing “economic terrorism” against Iran through “spreading lies, lobbyism” and “propaganda.”
By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner
Iran openly threatened an American think-tank and its CEO on Saturday, asserting that actions by the Islamic Republic’s “security apparatuses” against the organization would be considered “legitimate.”
According to semi-official state news agency Mehr, the Iranian foreign ministry blamed the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and its CEO Mark Dubowitz for practicing “economic terrorism” against Iran through “spreading lies, lobbyism” and “propaganda.”
“Accordingly, taking any actions by the judicial and security apparatuses against the FDD and their Iranian and non-Iranian accomplices will be considered legitimate as their actions are against Iran’s national security and the interests of the Iranian people and government,” Mehr said of the foreign ministry statement.
In response to the threat, the FDD sounded a defiant tone. “FDD conducts independent research and analysis on national security issues,” the group said on Twitter. “The Islamic Republic prohibits such freedoms at home, and would like to do so abroad as well.”
“The Islamic Republic, which has occupied the great nation of Iran for four decades, continues to brutally repress the peoples of Iran, stealing their wealth and creating destruction and chaos in the Middle East,” the organization added.
“FDD considers its inclusion on any list put out by the regime as a badge of honor and looks forward to the day when Americans and others can visit a free and democratic Iran,” it added.
State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said of the threat, “The outlaw regime in Iran issued a threat today against @FDD, an American think tank, and its CEO. The U.S. takes the regime’s threats seriously. We intend to hold Iran responsible for directly or indirectly compromising the safety of any American.”
Israel’s foreign ministry also weighed in, saying, “Today, more than ever, @FDD’s work is invaluable in exposing the Iranian regime’s terrorist agenda.”
Iran is an open supporter of terrorism and sponsors many proxy terrorist groups across the Middle East as part of an expansionist agenda.