Ghorbani attended two MEK rallies, one in New York City on Sept. 20, 2017, and another in Washington, D.C., in December 2017, according to the plea deal. While at the rallies, Ghorbani took pictures of attendees, including the group’s leaders.
“The photographs depicted MEK leaders, and included hand-written notes identifying the individuals and listing their positions in the group,” the DOJ said.
Doostdar admitted under oath that he traveled to the U.S. from Iran on three occasions to convene with Ghorbani and give him instructions “on behalf of the government of Iran,” the Justice Department said.
After his second trip in December 2017, Doostdar paid Ghorbani $2,000 after collecting the photos and other surveillance, the plea deal said.
“The defendants both have admitted to conducting surveillance and collecting identifying information for the government of Iran about Americans, and in particular, individuals who were exercising their First Amendment rights to oppose the Iranian government,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said. “The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable governments like Iran that would threaten and intimidate Americans who criticize them.”