Three individuals have been charged in a global assassination scheme aimed at an Iranian individual living in Maryland.

On January 29, 2024, three men were indicted for allegedly conspiring to carry out a murder-for-hire plot against an Iranian dissident and a woman he fled with. The indictment, unsealed by the Justice Department, accuses Naji Sharifi Zindashti of orchestrating the scheme from Iran over a period of two years. The two other defendants, Damion Patrick John Ryan and Adam Richard Pearson, were recruited by Zindashti and allegedly agreed to carry out the murder for a payment of $350,000 and $20,000 in travel expenses. The group communicated through encrypted messaging apps and exchanged photos and maps of the targets. Ryan was paid $20,000 for the travel expenses and all three defendants are facing charges of conspiracy. Pearson is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm. Zindashti remains in Iran while Ryan and Pearson are detained in Canada on unrelated charges. This is not the first time the Justice Department has brought charges against individuals from Iran for targeting dissidents living in the U.S. In January 2023, three men were charged with plotting to assassinate an Iranian journalist for her criticism of the regime. Former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has spoken out about the importance of holding those responsible for such plots accountable.  

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