The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) reported that 63-year-old Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi was recently arrested at his Watertown, Massachusetts home on Monday. On Tuesday he appeared in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. He was charged with 1 count of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent and 1 count of acting as a foreign agent without registration.
If you’re going to impose a sensible and much more limited travel ban, stop regime officials and their families from entering the U.S. That will also make Iranian dissidents here safer.
— Mark Dubowitz (@mdubowitz) January 21, 2021
He is charged with receiving a significant part of his income from work given to him by the Iranian regime which took place in 2007 in the U.S. until today’s date.
"Using the guise of a free-thinking academic, Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi has since 2007 been pushing Iranian regime propaganda"
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) January 19, 2021
The FBI stated that while Afrasiabi was in the U.S., he failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The Assistant Attorney General, John Demers, in a statement following Afrasiabi’s arrest, said that Afrasiabi pretended to the Congress, journalists, and the U.S. public that he was a neutral, objective expert on Iran but it seems he was actually a secret employee of the Iranian regime and the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations (IMUN) who received a payment for the disseminating of its propaganda.
Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta's statement on the arrest of Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, of Watertown, MA, who is charged with acting as an unregistered agent of the Iranian Government following an #FBI investigation. Details @EDNYnews: https://t.co/eNQ1CPNK1O pic.twitter.com/hb0rT5ZNJK
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) January 19, 2021
One of his key assignments was lobbying a U.S. congressman and the U.S. Department of State to get them to support policies that would benefit Iran.
Afrasiabi has also been accused of teaching Iranian diplomats about U.S. foreign policy, making TV appearances that were used to promote the Iranian government’s position on world events, as well as writing articles and opinion pieces that supported the Iranian government’s position on foreign issues.
It appears from information filed with the court that Afrasiabi contacted Iranian officials about “retaliation” for the successful U.S. drone strike operation that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.
He allegedly advised in an email that Iran should “end all inspections and end-all information on Iran’s nuclear activities pending a [United Nations Security Council] condemnation of US’ illegal crime.” Doing so would “strike fear in the heart of the enemy” and “weaken Trump and strengthen his opponents.’’
The most important Iranian dissident group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), openly supported the arrest on Tuesday. Alireza Jafarzadeh, who is the deputy director of the NCRI’s Washington office, remarked to the Washington Examiner that it was a “welcome and long overdue action.”
#NoImpunity4Mullahs Federal agents arrested Iranian-born Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi on Monday at his home in Massachusetts, the Justice Department said in a press release today. pic.twitter.com/8CTch7pRru
— RoyaIranian (@IranianRoya) January 20, 2021
In the meantime, Iran will be rolling out 1,000 extra centrifuges and said its plan was to enrich uranium to 20%, which was a further violation of the nuclear deal. The U.S. responded to this announcement of the nuclear expansion and has now slapped on even more sanctions on the Iranian steel industry.
An abridged version of an article written by Zachary Halaschak for the Washington Examiner.