This scheme is hidden behind the cloak of a religious organization raising money to protect the shrine of Shiite Islam’s 8th leader, Imam Reza, to prevent the world from connecting AQR to the Regime’s nefarious activities and allow it to operate in plain sight. But the NCRI has exposed it in this latest report, noting how the AQR was vital to the recruitment of former the United States Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt as a spy for Iran and how it provides financial, material and logistical support to Iran-backed terrorist groups across the Middle East. 

AQR, which is one of four NGOs that control 60% of Iran’s wealth, is exempt from tax, even though it employs tens of thousands of people, owns 50 large companies, has land worth $20 billion, and has large stakes in Iran’s aqueducts, oil rigs, railroads, and mines. 

Recruiting spies 

AQR is one of the major financiers of the New Horizon seminars and meetings, which are used to recruit foreign agents for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force. Agents who will provide security intelligence from Western countries to Iran, which could be used for terror attacks against Western countries, and spread propaganda against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which will be used to justify terror attacks against the MEK. 

Witt, who now goes by Fatemeh Zahra, was one of those Western agents who was invited to a “Hollywoodism” conference in January 2012 and radicalized. By August 2013, she had moved to Iran to continue her work for the regime, providing the mullahs with classified information, including the real names of US intelligence sources. 

Witt has a US arrest warrant out for her and faces 18 charges, including espionage, fraud, aiding and abetting a foreign state. 


AQR is also a massive sponsor of Iran-backed terrorism around the world. 

Its leaders, including current judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, have often met with top Hezbollah officials, like Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and Imad Mughniyeh, the second-in-command and Hezbollah’s former military commander. Raisi also visited Abdul Amir Qablan, the Lebanese head of the Shi’ite’s Assembly, and Akram al-Kaabi, the leader of the Iraqi Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, while an AQR delegation met Qais al-Khazali, leader of the terrorist group of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq. 

All of these meetings happened in 2019 alone. 

The NCRI wrote: “The truth is that under the mullah’s regime, there is no non-governmental organization. All official institutions in Iran are either created by the regime or have been seized for its evil purposes, as in the case of Astan-e Quds Razavi… The Iranian regime uses foundations such as Astan-e Quds to circumvent sanctions and fund its oppressive and terrorist policies Subsequent to the blacklisting of the IRGC and the expansion of US sanctions aimed at cutting off the regime’s economic resources, the regime has utilized AQR and similar entities to circumvent the sanctions and to finance its repressive and terrorist policies. It is the time that Astan-e Quds Razavi and similar organizations and their business counterparties be sanctioned to prevent this regime from using the people’s wealth to continue operating.”