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US Justice Department Charges Massachusetts Man With Acting As An Unregistered Agent Of The Iranian Government

January 26th, 2021 13:22

The US Jus­tice Depart­ment has announced that it has charged a Mass­a­chu­setts man with act­ing and con­spir­ing to act as an unreg­is­tered agent of the Gov­ern­ment of the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran. Accord­ing to the announce­ment, Kaveh Lot­fo­lah Afrasiab (aka Lot­fo­lah Kaveh Afrasi­abi) was pos­ing as a “neu­tral and objec­tive expert on Iran” while actu­al­ly being paid by Iran to spread Iran­ian propaganda:

Jan­u­ary 19, 2021 A crim­i­nal com­plaint was unsealed today in fed­er­al court in Brook­lyn charg­ing Kaveh Lot­fo­lah Afrasi­abi, also known as Lot­fo­lah Kaveh Afrasi­abi, with act­ing and con­spir­ing to act as an unreg­is­tered agent of the Gov­ern­ment of the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran, in vio­la­tion of the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act (FARA).  Afrasi­abi was arrest­ed yes­ter­day at his home in Water­town, Mass­a­chu­setts, and will make his ini­tial appear­ance this morn­ing in fed­er­al court in Boston, Massachusetts.

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“For over a decade, Kaveh Afrasi­abi pitched him­self to Con­gress, jour­nal­ists, and the Amer­i­can pub­lic as a neu­tral and objec­tive expert on Iran,” said John C. Demers, Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­er­al for Nation­al Secu­ri­ty.  “How­ev­er, all the while, Afrasi­abi was actu­al­ly a secret employ­ee of the Gov­ern­ment of Iran and the Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran to the Unit­ed Nations (IMUN) who was being paid to spread their pro­pa­gan­da.  In doing so, he inten­tion­al­ly avoid­ed reg­is­ter­ing with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice as the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act required.  He like­wise evad­ed his oblig­a­tion to dis­close who was spon­sor­ing his views.  We now begin to hold him respon­si­ble for those deeds.”

Read the rest here.

A CNN report: describes Afrasi­abi as a cit­i­zen of Iran and a law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dent of the US  and goes on to detail some of his alleged activities:

Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors accuse Afrasi­abi of email­ing Iran­ian offi­cials in Jan­u­ary 2020 with advice for “retal­i­a­tion” for the US mil­i­tary airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, head of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards’ Quds Force, an elite unit that han­dles Iran’s over­seas oper­a­tions. Afrasi­abi at the time pro­posed the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment “end all inspec­tions and end all infor­ma­tion on Iran’s nuclear activ­i­ties pend­ing a [Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil] con­dem­na­tion of [the Unit­ed States’] ille­gal crime,” accord­ing to the com­plaint. Afrasi­abi claimed the move would “strike fear in the heart of [the] enemy.”

Accord­ing to a bio post­ed on his website:

Afrasi­abi is a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist and author of sev­er­al books — on Iran, Islam, ecol­o­gy, Mid­dle East, UN reform, as well as poet­ry and fic­tion — and numer­ous arti­cles in inter­na­tion­al news­pa­pers and jour­nals. Afrasi­abi gained a PhD in Polit­i­cal Sci­ence from Boston Uni­ver­si­ty with a the­sis titled “State and Pop­ulism in Iran” under the super­vi­sion of famed his­to­ri­an Howard Zinn. Afrasi­abi has also stud­ied the­ol­o­gy at Andover-New­ton The­o­log­i­cal School and his the­o­log­i­cal writ­ings have been praised by Bish­op John Chane as a “must read” in his intro­duc­tion to Afrasiabi’s book, titled Mahdism, Shi­ism, and Com­mu­nica­tive Eco-The­ol­o­gy (2015). Afrasi­abi is the founder and direc­tor of a non-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion, Glob­al Inter­faith Peace (GIP). The pur­pose of GIP is to enhance under­stand­ing, dia­logue, tol­er­ance and com­mu­ni­ca­tion among the world’s reli­gions and to com­ple­ment the activ­i­ties of UN in peace­mak­ing by even­tu­al­ly pro­vid­ing an aux­il­iary faith-based sup­port. Afrasi­abi has taught polit­i­cal sci­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tehran, Boston Uni­ver­si­ty, and Bent­ley Uni­ver­si­ty. Afrasi­abi has been a vis­it­ing schol­ar at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty (1989–1990), Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley (2000–2001), Bing­ham­ton Uni­ver­si­ty (2001–2002) and the­Cen­ter for Strate­gic Research, Tehran. Dur­ing 2004–2005, Afrasi­abi was involved as an advi­sor to Iran’s nuclear nego­ti­a­tion team. Afrasi­abi is a for­mer con­sul­tant to the Unit­ed Nations “Dia­logue Among Civ­i­liza­tions”, for which he inter­viewed the for­mer Iran­ian pres­i­dent, Moham­mad Khata­mi.. Afrasi­abi was the chair­man of the World Youth Fes­ti­val on Dia­logue Among Civ­i­liza­tions in Vil­nius, Lithua­nia, in 2001Afrasiabi has authored numer­ous arti­cles in schol­ar­ly jour­nals and newspapers….