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.
“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….