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Islamist Organization Profile

Alavi Foundation

Wed, October 9, 2013

The Alavi Foundation building in Manhattan (Photo: © Reuters)

The Alavi Foundation building in Manhattan (Photo: © Reuters)

by: 
Ryan Mauro

Address: 650 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2406; New York, NY 10019

Website: www.alavifoundation.org

The Alavi Foundation says its purpose is “promoting the teaching of Islamic culture, Persian language, literature and civilization.”

The Alavi Foundation's site, a 36-story midtown Manhattan skyscraper 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.[2] The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigations chief, Adam Kaufmann, said, “We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation.”[3]

The organization is accused of funneling money to an Iranian bank linked to the Iranian nuclear program and had its assets seized in 2009.[4] The president of the Foundation, Farshid Jahedi, pled guilty to destroying evidence before it could be submitted to grand jury.[5]

According to the Washington Post: “U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have long suspected that Alavi and its related institutions are vehicles through which the Iranian government keeps tabs on Iranians here, obtains data about U.S. technology, promotes Tehran's views on world affairs, provides gathering places for pro-Iran activists and channels money to U.S. academics to gain friendly readings on Iran.”[6]

The communications director for the Iranian-American Community of Northern California, Hamid Azimi, said the Alavi Foundation is part of the regime’s “propaganda machine.”[7] Its financial disclosures show that it has given funds to over 60 Islamic sites in North America[8] and 30 universities.[9] It also distributes about 15,000 free texts each year through four distribution centers to mosques, schools, libraries, individuals and penitentiaries.[10]  



[1] “Contact Us,” Alavi Foundation website, http://www.alavifoundation.org/aboutus/contactus.html

[2] Petrou, Michael. “Follow the Money,” MacLean’s, June 14, 2013. http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/14/follow-the-money-4/

[3] “Report: Columbia and Rutgers Funded by Iran-Controlled Group,” Ha’aretz, November 23, 2009. http://www.haaretz.com/news/report-columbia-and-rutgers-funded-by-iran-controlled-group-1.3599

[4] Farrell, Michael B. “What’s Known About Iran-Linked Alavi Foundation?” Christian Science Monitor, November 14, 2009. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1114/p02s10-usgn.html

[5] Wiedlich, Thom and Christopher Scinta. “Jahedi Pleads Guilty in Probe of Suspected Iranian Front Group,” Bloomberg, December 31, 2009. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=adSWMh4kTqFY

[6] Kessler, Glenn. “Feds Move to Seize Assets Allegedly Held by Iranian Government,” Washington Post, November 12, 2009. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-11-12/news/36841886_1_alavi-foundation-tenants-or-occupants-iranian-bank

[7] Farrell, Michael B. “What’s Known About Iran-Linked Alavi Foundation?” Christian Science Monitor, November 14, 2009. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1114/p02s10-usgn.html/(page)/2

[8] Mauro, Ryan. “Iranian Gov’t Front Group Funded Over 60 Islamic Sites in U.S.,” Clarion Project, July 1, 2013. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/iranian-govt-front-group-funded-over-60-islamic-sites-us

[9] Mauro, Ryan. “Iranian Front Group Funded 30 Universities in U.S. & Canada,” Clarion Project, June 25, 2013. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/iranian-regime-front-funded-30-universities-us-canada

[10] “Book Distribution,” Alavi Foundation website, http://www.alavifoundation.org/programs/bookdistribution.html#start