The Islamic Republic of Iran sanctioned FDD and CEO Mark Dubowitz (in 2019). Senior Advisor Richard Goldberg (in 2020), and China Program Chairman Matthew Pottinger and Senior Fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht (in 2022), calling FDD “the designing and executing arm of the U.S. administration” on Iran policy. In a clear threat, the regime stated that “taking any actions by the judicial and security apparatuses against the FDD and their Iranian and non-Iranian accomplices will be considered legitimate as their actions are against Iran’s national security and the interests of Iranian people and government.”

Iran’s Fars News—a wire service affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—then outlined how targeting FDD’s Iranian employees could be more effective and called for “punishing” FDD’s Alireza Nader, Saeed Ghasseminejad, and Behnam Ben Taleblu. “Just as Ruhollah Zam [Iranian journalist sentenced to death] and Jamshid Sharmahd [opposition figure arrested in Iran] are currently waiting to be brought to justice,” the threat reads, FDD’s Iranian personnel “should not be immune from sanctions and punishment.”

We are taking these threats very seriously and are in close communication with several law enforcement and national security agencies. We are also actively assessing our security protocols and taking all prudent measures to ensure the protection of our personnel, facilities, and networks.

Given the ongoing threats we face, it is clear that FDD needs to do much more to bolster and maintain its overall security. The goal of “FDD’s Security Fund” is to cover costs for increased protective intelligence, training, travel security, hardening of infrastructure, and IT upgrades.