What's known about Iran-linked Alavi Foundation?
First set up by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s, the Alavi Foundation's alleged links to Iran have been under the scrutiny of federal investigators for years.
(Page 2 of 2)
"US law enforcement and intelligence officials believe Alavi and its related institutions are a vehicle through which the Iranian regime keeps tabs on Iranians here, obtains data about US technology, promotes Tehran's views on world affairs, provides gathering places for pro-Iran activists and channels money to US academics to gain a friendly reading on Iran," reported the Post in 2003.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In response to the article, the Alavi Foundation said that its activities "are merely cultural and the Foundation does not have any political tendencies." It said that the group's Iranian heritage unfairly put it in the spotlight of federal authorities.
In May, Alavi Foundation president Farshid Jahedi was indicted on charges of destroying documents related to a grand jury investigation. Mr. Jahedi was originally arrested on Dec. 19, 2008, two days after federal prosecutors filed a forfeiture complaint against the Assa Corporation, which owns Fifth Avenue building in partnership with the Alavi Foundation. Federal prosecutors say Assa Corp. also sends rental income from the building to the Iranian government.
It's no secret that the Alavi Foundation spreads the message for the Iranian government, says Hamid Azimi, communications director for the Iranian-American Community of Northern California. In fact, he says, it's just one part of Iran's "propoganda machine" in the US.
The Alavi Foundation's activities are not confined to Islamic pursuits, according to Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy. In an article in Forbes Magazine earlier this year, she said the foundation in December 2008 made a legal contribution of $25,000 and $50,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation.
"As long as the US government continues to treat different Iranian entities as though they are separate from the state it recognizes as a sponsor of terrorism, the mullah will be free to advance their agenda in the US," she wrote.
Federal prosecutors have stressed that the forfeiture claim does not effect the tenants of the buildings that Alavi Foundation owns. A director of an Islamic education center in Houston told the Houston Chronicle that the center was "not affiliated with any other organization."
Follow us on Twitter.