In June, The Alavi Foundation was deemed by jurors in Manhattan’s federal court to be controlled by the Iranian government. The jury also found that the charity’s management of the Fifth Avenue office building constituted a violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran. This verdict means that prosecutors can attempt to seize the building at 650 Fifth and sell the property, valued at more than $500 million. The proceeds would then be distributed to victims of Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks.
This same group, the Alavi Foundation, has been tied to the funding of certain professors at American Ivy League schools, as well as other schools in the U.S.
Many people are worried that the foundation’s money may have been used to plant pro-Iran professors within the U.S. university system, as this group has reportedly sent millions of dollars into dozens of America’s top-ranking colleges and universities. “To what purpose?” they wonder.
While making the case against Alavi acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in late June, “For over a decade, hiding in plain sight, this 36-story Manhattan office tower secretly served as as front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of U.S. sanctions laws.”
In an article by Cheryl K. Chumley for Track Persia, a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, she speculates, “If the money came with strings attached — say, stipulations that certain professors must be hired, or that certain doctrines should be taught — then this is a radical infiltration of dangerous proportions, pure and simple.” She adds that an investigation “needs to be conducted, and pronto. And if untoward infiltration has occurred, then justice —beginning with firings of compromised professors and complicit administrators — should be both swift and harsh.”
According to Donovan, he says he plans to contact the secretary of the Department of Education, along with various congressional committees, to request an investigation.