Republican Congressman: Investigate Iranian Funding of Academia

Republican Congressman: Investigate Iranian Funding of Academia

In light of new US sanctions on Iran and Russia, the two countries have vowed to enhance their already-deep military cooperation but it also appears that Iran has been caught influencing and funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to American educational institutions to further Iranian ideology.

Congressman Dan Donovan (R-NY) called on Education Secretary Betsy Devos to investigate an Iranian foundation where the millions of dollars appear to be funneled from, according to Algemeiner.

Clarion project:

The Alavi Foundation, based in New York, distributed $50 million since its creation in 1973, ostensibly to promote Persian culture and interfaith dialogue.

“Did this foundation attempt to subvert American academic institutions,” Rep. Dan Donovan asked. “We need to investigate this, and universities have to do a better job of vetting their donors.”

Donovan further stated:

“The Alavi Foundation – which was based in NYC – was recently convicted of acting as a front group for the Iranian regime, and it’s surmised that the organization donated money to 41 American universities to install pro-Tehran and anti-Israel professors. We need to investigate this claim, and I’ll be contacting the Secretary of Education and the relevant Congressional committees about this matter immediately. As a former prosecutor I know to never jump to conclusions, but there are serious questions that demand answers: Did this foundation attempt to subvert American academic institutions? Did the universities accept grants with ‘strings’ attached? Were the curricula and professors funded by this Iranian front organization towing the Iranian regime’s line?”

However, a Manhattan court found in June that the Alavi foundation is controlled by the Iranian regime and its activities violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, bringing an end to a nine-year court battle against the foundation. The government will now move ahead with plans to seize the Alavi Foundation’s headquarters, 650 Fifth Avenue.

The Alavi Foundation’s site, a 36-story, midtown Manhattan skyscraper, was originally built in the 1970s by the Pahlavi Foundation, an entity of the Shah-led government of Iran. After the Shah was overthrown in 1979, the new Iranian regime took it over and renamed it. The Alavi Foundation owns 60% of the building. The other 40% is owned by Assa Corporation, which according to The New York Times, is a shell company for an Iranian state-controlled bank.

The verdict “represents the largest civil forfeiture jury verdict and the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in U.S. history,” acting US attorney in Manhattan Joon H. Kim said in a statement.

The Alavi Foundation gave over $600,000 to Harvard and more than $500,000 to Catholic schools, including the Catholic University of America and Sacred Heart University, the Algemeiner reported, citing publicly-available donation records. In 2013 Clarion Project reported the Alavi Foundation donated to 30 different universities in the United States and Canada, including UC Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia and the University of Toronto.

The communications director for the Iranian-American Community of Northern California, Hamid Azimi, said the Alavi Foundation was part of the regime’s “propaganda machine.”

Taking steps to prevent funding of U.S. educational institutions and mosques by foreign extremists was point three of Raheel Raza’s Clarion Project recommendations to the House Subcommittee on National Security delivered in her congressional testimony last week.

In 2016, Democrats and Republicans were critical of the Obama administration’s continuing appeasement policies and loosening of sanctions against Iran that will now open the door to Iranian radical presence in American academia.

Stephen Schwartz of the Clarion Project warned that American academia, which has revealed itself to be markedly susceptible to the intrigues of the Saudi-based radical Wahhabi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood, and now with Iran, must be stopped before Iranian infiltration further metastasizes.

Schwartz also profiled three Iranian ideological functionaries penetrating U.S. universities that include Ebrahim Mohseni, Seyed Mohammad Marandi (by long-distance control from Iran), and Ali Akbar Alikhani.

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