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As Professor Arrested For UN Linked Lobbying For Iran Detained In Boston At Least to Friday

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Podcast
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT, Jan 19 – A professor is charged with violation US law by lobbying for Iran and its Mission to the UN, including a US Congress members, without registering under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act.   

The US Attorney for the EDNY has charged 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 FARA.  Full complaint on Patreon, here.

Afrasiabi was arrested on January 18 at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts, and appeared on January 19 in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal.  Inner City Press live tweeted it, here:

Massachusetts District Magistrate Jennifer Boal: Mr. Afrasiabi, do you understand that this proceeding is public? Afrasiabi: I do.   [He is in a beige jumpsuit, with white surgical mask]

 Judge Boal: You are charged with operating as an unregistered foreign agent. 

AUSA Dawley: He faces five years on each charge. The government is seeking detention based on national security concerns and very serious risk of flight

 Judge Boal: This case would only stay here under Rule 20, if you plead guilty here and both US Attorneys offices would have to agree.

 Defense lawyer William Keefe: We concede identity. We would like to have the detention hearing here, on Friday afternoon

AUSA Dawley: We'd prefer the preliminary hearing on February 2. We'll be ready for detention hearing on Friday. But this is a New York matter, during COVID. This is an extensive case, and I've only been involved in it for 24 hours

AUSA Dawley: The AUSA from Brooklyn would be willing to travel to Boston-- Judge Boal: But it would be by Zoom. The government decided to charge the case, and should be ready for a preliminary hearing. The two weeks are the outside date

 AUSA Dawley: We'd have a witness, too. There are Zoom issues.

 Judge Boal: There are restrictions on AUSAs appearing in different districts. AUSA Dawley: Yes.

Defense lawyer Keefe: The detention hearing is key. We might have an agreement with the government...

Judge Boal: Hopefully there'll be a joint proposal. Friday at 2:30 pm.

  Inner City Press will stay on this case.

 On the morning of January 19, given the multiple references in the complaint to the UN, Inner City Press in writing asked UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres and his spokespeople Stephane Dujarric and Melissa Fleming, "What are comments and actions if any of SG Guterres on today's EDNY indictment of Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, a/k/a “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 US FARA?"  

Hours later, no answer, on that, or the UN Federal Credit Union's role.  Inner City Press was by Guterres banned from attending the UN noon briefing to ask - this while the UN gives multiple taxpayer funded office to Iran state media.  No one else allowed in asked about the case.

In fact in the UN noon briefing Inner City Press was banned from, this from Iranian state media:

UN Spokesman Dujarric: Mohsen?     

Question:  Thank you, Stéphane. My question is about the Iran’s voting rights over unpaid dues. The Iranian officials say they have been in talks with the Secretariat for now to resolve this issue. Also, they believe the main problem is US [audio gap, inaudible] unilateral sanctions. Can you explain the latest developments and efforts that have been made to solve this problem? 

    Spokesman Dujarric:  There are two... thank you for the question. There are two separate issues. As you state, it is... we have, in fact, been in close touch with the Permanent Mission of Iran, as well as other relevant Iranian authorities. It's clear from our side that Iran is keen to find a way to pay into the UN budget. But, as you know, I think there... specific circumstances are making such payments difficult to transfer. But we have been in discussions; we will continue to be in discussions and we fully recognise the goodwill of the Iranian authorities to try to find a solution. We're all trying to find a solution.

  Today's UN is corrupt - Guterres only cares about getting money, not complying with any law.

 From the complaint:  

AFRASIABI received more than $265,000 from the IMUN in checks payable to him and drawn on official bank accounts held in the name of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations. The memo lines of many of the most recently issued checks have explicitly described the payments as “salary.” 78. Many of the payments made to AFRASIABI by officials of the GOI assigned to the IMUN since 2012 have been drawn on the IMUN’s bank account at a financial institution in Long Island City in Queens, New York." 

Would that be the UN Federal Credit Union, about which Inner City Press has previously reported, before being banned by Guterres, now seeking a second term as UNSG? Watch this site.


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