An investigation by Swedish Radio has uncovered a suspected plot by Iran to murder Swedish Jews.
The covert operation allegedly involved an Iranian couple who lived in Sweden under false identities for over five years and were believed to be acting as undercover agents.
Among the targeted individuals was Aron Verständig, Chair of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish communities, who recounted the alarming moment he was informed by the Swedish Security Service about the threat on his life.
“In September 2021 I received a call from the Swedish Security Service. They basically told me that you have been named as one of the targets of a possible terror crime that involves murder,” Verständig said.
The couple, identified as Mahdi Ramezani and Fereshteh Sanaeifarid, was arrested in April 2021 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. Deputy chief prosecutor Hans Ihrman refrained from divulging specific details regarding the targets but hinted at the severity of the allegations.
“I can’t [comment],” Ihrman told Swedish Radio reporters.
Sources close to the investigation revealed to Swedish Radio that the Iranian couple purportedly operated under the direction of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a military and intelligence organization classified as a terrorist group by the United States and others.
The intended targets, including Aron Verständig, were apparently singled out as representatives of the Jewish diaspora, serving as proxies for Iran’s hostility towards Israel.
“I want to be clear that I am not intimidated. I will continue to do what I am doing in spite of this,” Verständig said.
The Swedish criminal investigation uncovered evidence linking the couple to the IRGC, indicating their involvement in planning a terror act in Sweden. However, due to insufficient evidence, prosecutors were unable to conclusively establish the specifics of the murder plot.
The FBI conducted a parallel investigation into the couple, particularly concerning the alleged targeting of a dual U.S.
Ultimately, despite evading prosecution, Ramezani and Sanaeifarid were deported to Iran in 2022 due to the perceived security threat they posed. Their arrival in Sweden as Afghan refugees under fabricated identities raised questions about the Swedish Migration Agency’s screening process, particularly in light of prior warnings.
Jesper Tengroth, press officer at the Swedish Migration Agency, refrained from commenting on specific cases but emphasized the agency’s commitment to rectifying past oversights.
“The most important thing is that it turns out right in the end,” Tengroth said.
The Swedish Security Service, while restrained on the specifics of the case, confirmed the connection between the Iranian couple and the IRGC.