Just as in the 2003 disaster that President George W. Bush under cover of a blatant falsification – Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) – ordered a massive pre-emptive bombardment of Iraq and began a 10-year war and mayhem against the people of that country, on May 15, 2006 a report by the Intelligence Division of the New York City police stated that “as the possibility of military action taken against Iran grows stronger, so does the danger of the City being attacked by agents of the Iranian government or its sympathizers.”
This putative hyperbole, just like the self-serving one about Iraq and its non-existent WMD’s, provided the cause for identifying the “potential sources of danger….so that law enforcement (agencies) can maximize opportunities to neutralize these threats”.
New York Police Intelligence Analysis Report
The report which later on was made available to the Associated Press, pursued several critical objectives: first and foremost was to frighten and silence 1.5 million Iranians living in the U.S. from expressing their opposition to the U.S. designed war on the country of their origin. Secondly, the direct charges brought by the office of the FBI against the personnel of the Iranian Mission at the United Nations is to create an atmosphere of fright and intimidation for the Iranians who may request assistance from the representatives of the Islamic Republic in the process of defending their own civil rights curtailed by the U.S. intelligence agencies. To lay the ground for cultivating unfounded guilt, confusion and repression, the report by way of implication asserts: “The most significant threat to New York City in the event of U.S. military action against Iran will likely originate with the Iranian government, through the Iranian intelligence services (IIS), which allegedly operates locally through the Alavi Foundation and the Iranian Mission to the United Nations.”
The plans of silencing, discrediting and dishonoring the Iranians residing in the U.S., the country’s Interest Section in Washington, D.C. and its Permanent Mission to the United Nations are incomplete if the sense of community and camaraderie among them remain intact. Whereas the great majority of Iranians are Shia Muslims and mosques are their houses of worship and the center of their socio-cultural gathering, the intelligence report opens a salvo of attacks against the single source, Alavi Foundation, which provides financial support for the maintenance of the Muslim cultural institutes.
According to the May 2006 report by the Intelligence Analysis unit of the New York Police Department, the Alavi Foundation’s purpose is “to promote understanding and harmony among people of different religions,” by providing assistance to public organizations “during times of hardship and deprivation caused by war or natural disasters.”
In the blink of an eye, the intelligence report turns the table and levels the sword of justice at the critical target, namely, the Alavi Foundation, which is the main financial support and a life line of several mosques, schools, community assemblies and libraries. Without the tuition and educational grants of the foundation, thousands of college students would be deprived of the chance of attaining higher education and university cultural enrichment programs would be curtailed. The course of action pursued by the NYC Justice Department aims at eliminating the influence and popularity of the foundation among the Muslims residing in the U.S. and, if possible, expropriating the huge real estate asset of a non-profit organization which was originally built, paid for and maintained by an Iranian national sovereign fund during the reign of the Shah.
The report, citing the views of the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department, reiterates that the “FBI officials have suspected that the Alavi Foundation is using its Islamic centers as a means of penetrating the Black Muslim Community to recruit sympathizers.” It goes as far as saying that “According to open source reports, black Muslims involved in the 1993 World Trade Center (WTC) bombing were recruited from mosques in Jersey City, NJ and Brooklyn.” As we see the discoveries of the intelligence report needs no proof. This allegation is as valid as the pretenses by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Iran is busy building nuclear weapons, though she can’t provide a shadow of its existence.
The sharpest example of such a false allegation by a Kangaroo Court surfaced in an article authored by Benjamin Weiser and Scott Shane of the New York Times on May 19, 2011 to the effect that “Iranian officials had ‘foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks’, according to a court filing…in a federal lawsuit in Manhattan that seeks damages for Iran’s ‘direct support for, and sponsorship of, the most deadly act of terrorism in American history’.” If the readers of the article stop short of reading the article to its end, they miss the most vital piece of information that says the 9/11 “commission report said that it had ‘found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah (of Lebanon) was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.'”
Secondly, the claimants’ identities and testimony were not revealed in the filing,” according to the lawyers who brought the original suit against the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of a group of families who energetically sought monetary compensation for the alleged damages their family members or themselves had received.
Having their eyes fixated on the real estate and financial assets of the Alavi Foundation, on the Iranian government’s and the personal and business bank accounts of the Senior Iranian officials working in Europe and the U.S., the intelligence strategists of the N.Y. Police Department, the court prosecutors, the lawyers who originally brought the suit, looking for a big cut, the Iranian informants whose primary intention of revealing the so-called secrets was to gain an asylum status to the U.S. and the claimants who looked for easy money, all and all, left no allegations untouched.
Expecting a larger slice of the booty, the group went berserk, claiming that the Islamic Republic of Iran with its close collaboration with Al Qaeda helped the terrorist group to enter and safely exit the U.S. In this regard, nothing could be farther from the truth. Even elementary students of international politics know that Al Qaeda, a Sunni terrorist group with Saudi flavor and its distinct interpretation of Islam, despises the Shiia believers of the same religion. Being a Sunni and allied with Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden, Taliban on the same day that its forces captured the northern city of Mazar-e-sharif, August 8, 1998, kidnapped and murdered eight Iranian diplomats and a state news agency (IRNA) correspondent from Iran’s consulate in Afghanistan.
To justify its three-decades long commercial and financial sanctions, imposition of a stiff embargo on Iranian oil shipments, the presence of its aircraft carriers and warships in the Persian Gulf, baiting Iran to create another “Tonkin Gulf” incident, arming and assisting the terrorist groups of Jundollah on Iran’s south-eastern region of Baluchistan and the Kurdish terrorist group of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) on the north-western region of Iran, violating the air space of Iran using drones, the cyber attacks (the Stuxnet worm and other computer viruses directed at the oil and gas industry of Iran) and lastly, but not the least important, seizing and freezing Iran’s financial assets and bank accounts, the U.S. court system has heaped tons of charges against Iran.
After ruining the banking system and the national economies of the U.S. and major countries of Europe through burdening them with huge, unsustainable military budgets, launching several wars within the same decade, fostering a wide income and wealth disparity between a class of rich financiers and the majority of the masses of working classes, the U.S. in particular, in the last quarter of century has been in the illegitimate business of taking over, seizing, freezing and expropriating Iranian banks, financial assets and bank accounts opened in the American and European banks.
Freezing and Seizing Iran’s Financial Assets
For us to know the depth and breadth of U.S. oppression and atrocities against the Iranian people by containing the country’s economy and international trade and technological cooperation, it is suffice to know that the following banks of Iran, a short segment of a longer list, have been banned by the U.S. Treasury from carrying on economic activities as of January 23, 2012: Ansar Bank, Arian Bank, Banco Internacional De Desarrolloo, C.A., Urb. El Rosal, Bank of Industry and Mine (of Iran), Bank Kargoshaee, Bank Mellat, Bank Melli Iran (Central Bank)….The above-named banks constitute less than 30 percent of the banks on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List), administered by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). We must indicate that the following data is part of a longer list of censored banks, companies and individuals. According to this partial data, the United States Treasury has frozen the banking activities of 23 individuals and 16 Iranian engineering, oil and gas marine services, insurance companies and consultancy agencies. There is no doubt that the main objections of the OFAC to the financial and commercial activities of these groups of entrepreneurs is that they help Iran’s economy by helping that of the U.S. and themselves, even if their business enterprises are not involved in the transfer of technological know-how to Iran and are confined to the medical and nutritional sectors.
It is worth mentioning that Iran is not the first country that the U.S. has had its eyes on its real estate and financial assets. In 2003 after ordering the bombardment of Baghdad, Washington confiscated valuable Iraqi properties, and then, acting as judge and jury years later, arbitrarily evaluated them to be worth $1.7 billion.
In common language, the United States government is a colossal thief.
More recently in May 2011, the Obama administration seized more than $30 billion of Libyan assets in American banks, to date with no clear accounting of where the money went.
Over the years, through the involvement of willing U.S. courts, a substantial number of the top 1% of Americans with Jewish background have been awarded large amounts of money as “compensation”. For example, in May 2011, a Washington, DC judge ordered Iran to pay $600 million in punitive damages to the families of U.S. citizens killed in Israel by Hamas forces in the Gaza strip. The year before the same judge, Royce Lamberth, ordered Iran to pay $92 million to the survivors and relatives of the U.S. soldiers killed in the 1983 bombing in Lebanon allegedly by Hezbollah guerilla forces. The question remains to be asked why Iran must pay compensation for the Israeli casualties while the clashes are the result of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories?
President Barack Obama on Feb. 6, 2012 ordered a freeze on all Iranian government and central bank assets held in the U.S. or any foreign branch of a U.S. entity. On July 1, 2010, by signing into law, President Obama gave the U.S. Treasury a unilateral license to impose punitive sanctions not only on the Iranian energy and financial companies but also on third-party companies and governments that trade with Iran.
In addition, the current CIA director Leon Panetta concurrently said that these new sanctions could “help weaken the regime” and “create serious economic problems” for Iran. This is an indictment of the U.S. policy (Democrats and Republicans) to harm the Iranian people.
On February 12, 2012, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee passed a bill that would extend U.S. sanctions to Iranian energy joint ventures, expand sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical sector and identify other sanction-able activities of the Iranian government. The bill would, for the first time extend sanctions to companies entering into new energy-related joint ventures anywhere in the world where Iranian government is a partner or investor. The provision also includes any venture where Iran would gain access to efficient energy technology. This bill also targets Iran’s petrochemical industry. The Senate bill was so extremely out of touch with the international norms and standards that stimulated the reactionary Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, to propose an amendment that would block ships from loading or unloading cargo in U.S. ports if they have visited ports in Iran, Syria or North Korea in the preceding 180 days. But fortunately, there was a majority of less imprudent senators in the Banking, Housing and Urban Committee who rejected the proposed amendment and saved the U.S. from being branded by the community of nations as a country ruled by a group of outlaws masquerading as American people’s representatives.
The Continuation of Part II is forthcoming:
Ardeshir Ommani is an Iranian-born writer and an activist in the U.S. anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years. During the past seven years, he has participated in the U.S. peace movement, working to promote dialogue and peace among nations and to prevent a U.S.-NATO war on Iran. He holds two Masters Degrees: one in Political Economy and another in Mathematics Education. President of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, (AIFC), he writes articles of analysis on Iran – U.S. relations, the U.S. economy and has translated articles and books from English into Farsi, the Persian language. Please visit AIFC’s website to learn more about Iran and Global issues at www.iranaifc.com. The author may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org