Masih Alinejad
Masih AlinejadIRAN-DISSIDENTS/ REUTERS/Toby Melville

An Iranian-born American woman has been sentenced to four years in prison for providing financial support to a plot to kidnap dissident Iranian-American activist Masih Alinejad, the Justice Department said Monday, according to a report in the AFP news agency.

Niloufar Bahadorifar, 48, of Irvine, California, pleaded guilty in December to multiple charges, including conspiring to violate US sanctions by giving material support to Iran, the report noted.

The Justice Department said Bahadorifar was sentenced by US District Judge Ronnie Abrams on Friday to four years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

"Bahadorifar provided financial support to a brazen plot intended to kidnap an Iranian human rights activist living in the United States whom the Iranian government has sought to silence for years," US attorney Damian Williams said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Bahadorifar was convicted of laundering money into the United States from Iran that was used to pay for private investigators to conduct surveillance of Alinejad on behalf of an alleged Iranian intelligence agent, Mahmoud Khazein.

Khazein and three other alleged Iranian agents are wanted by the FBI in connection with the suspected plot to kidnap Alinejad, who lives in New York, and take her back to Iran.

Alinejad, who is known for her criticism of Iran's clerical regime was also the target of a separate Tehran-backed assassination plot, US authorities have said.

In August of last year, an armed man was videotaped outside of Alinejad’s New York home. The anti-regime activist later said she had been home alone at the time of the incident, and only had her "voice" as a means of self-defense against the Islamic Regime's attempts to silence her.

Iranian authorities have denied any involvement in the alleged plots targeting Alinejad.