Alavi Foundation and the Iranian regime’s web of influence in USJan 9th, 2009
On December 19, 2008, Farshid Jahedi, the president of the Alavi Foundation was arrested by Federal agents. He is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying documents required to be produced under a grand jury subpoena concerning the Alavi Foundation’s relationship with Bank Melli Iran and the ownership of a Manhattan office building.
The Alavi Foundation is the successor organization of the Pahlavi Foundation founded by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. The Foundation constructed an office tower at 650 Fifth Avenue, New York, which was financed by a substantial loan from Bank Melli Iran a state-owned bank in Iran. The loan was later changed to a %40 share in the ownership of the building.
As the federal agents are looking deeper into the activities of this foundation, the Iranian community wonders if the time has finally come to examine and scrutinize the Iranian regime’s activities in the US. For almost three decades, Alavi has granted tens of millions of dollars to groups and individuals in the US.
For example, in the past 3 years, this Foundation has granted several hundred thousands of dollars to Rutgers University’s Hooshang Amirahmadi operation. Amirahmadi is the president of Middle Eastern Studies in Rutgers. Interestingly, he also founded the American Iranian Council in 1997 and launched a large scale lobby and campaign to lift the pressure off the Iranian regime. Meanwhile, Amirahmadi also bid for the Iran’s presidency.
In November 2008, Amirahmadi traveled to Tehran and demanded increased support from the government. Openly and unequivocally he admitted to lobbying for the Iranian regime. He told the Iranian governmental newspaper Etemad:
Etemad newspaper, taken by Emrooz, Nov. 12, 2008, http://emruz.net/ShowItem.aspx?ID=18725&p=1
“There is clash between various regional [Middle East] lobbies. Israelites will fast gather around Obama . Arabs will also spend their money to get close to Obama. Unfortunately, Iran is very lonely in Washington, and those few, like us, who defend the Iranian rights, are subject of unkind hostility in Tehran. These gentlemen [in Iran] do not truly understand what they do, and how they weaken our position. As a result the field is left wide open for Israelis and Arabs and enemies of Iran. Firstly, Iran should realize that, and empower its friends in Washington, especially in the next one to two months, which is the time [to do it].
Iranian leaders should pay attention to what is going on, and strengthen their friends. They [Iranian leaders] should have confidence in, energize, and trust their friends [in Washington] so they enter the arena. This is very important. Therefore the next two or three months are the time to conquer Obama’s heart and mind and that of his teams. Anyone who acts faster will rest trouble free for the next 8 years. Anyone who does not go to that bazaar [marketplace] now, will have a tough time entering that bazaar in future.”
Is there a relation between Alavi foundation’s generosity and Amirahmadi’s lobbying for the Iranian regime? There are many questions which have remained unanswered for long time. The time has come to investigate the Iranian regime’s web of influence in the US.
January 7 2009