Man arrested near home of Iranian dissident faces gun charge

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NEW YORK (AP) — A man arrested in New York City last month near the home of an Iranian opposition activist and writer has been indicted on a weapons count.

The indictment charges Khalid Mehdiyev with one count of possessing a firearm, a Chinese-made AK-47-style assault rifle, with an obliterated serial number.

Police arrested Mehdiyev last month after he was seen lurking near the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, looking in the window and trying to open the front door.

Mehdiyev initially claimed he was in the neighborhood looking for a room to rent but later admitted he had been in the area “looking for someone,” according to the criminal complaint.

He has been held without bail since his arrest July 29. A message was left with his attorney Thursday evening.

Alinejad became a U.S. citizen in 2019 after working for years as a journalist in Iran. She fled the country after its disputed 2009 presidential election and has become a prominent figure on Farsi-language satellite channels abroad that criticize Iran.

Last year, an Iranian intelligence officer and others were charged with attempting to kidnap Alinejad and take her back to Iran. Officials in Iran have denied the charge.