The United States Government has seized a 36 story building in Manhattan owned chiefly by the Alavi Foundation, a Persian and Islamic cultural center. In a 2009 lawsuit, the Manhattan US Attorney’s office said the Alavi Foundation was controlled by the Iranian government, a claim vehemently denied by Iran. However, the Iranian claim has been dismissed and a Federal Court decided the building could be confiscated based on “concealing Iranian assets” in direct violation of U.S. Sanctions.
Iran states that the seizure is illegal and a violation of religious freedom. The U.S. Justice Department for its part claims the confiscation is legal and will distribute the proceeds from the sale of the building, to victims of attacks by Iranian backed militants. Marzieh Afkham, an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said, “Confiscation of the properties of an independent charity organisation raises doubt about the credibility of US justice.” Whatever Mr Afkham claims, unless he and Tehran are willing to come to the United States and forcibly remove the building from its foundation and have it shipped by boat to Tehran, the decision is binding.
This is a very important decision because it demonstrates America’s resolve; it’s ability and willingness to stand against a country whose government is corrupt, sponsors terrorism and rarely suffers any consequences for its transgressions. Never did Iran face any significant consequences for the Iranian hostage crisis so the U.S. still has some payback to give the Ayatollah’s and Tehran. Although sanctions and financial confiscations seem relatively useless, nothing really has a greater impact than financial consequences. In the end it’s all about money and control of resources, not religion. It’s far better than placing our young service men and women in harm’s way. Clearly there is more real estate in the U.S. with links to Tehran and the United States should continue to aggressively go after these properties.