Less than a month after the fuss in Tehran over Canada’s terror-related seizure of Iranian funds and properties began to die down, another Western power – this time the United States – made an even bigger forfeiture, that of a Manhattan skyscraper.
The building, a 36-storey tower in the heart of New York City, was seized by state prosecutors after they determined that rent and other profits from the building were transferred by majority owner Alavi Foundation, a nonprofit promoting Islamic culture and Persian language, to Iran’s national bank.
Predictably, Iran was not happy with the seizure, nor with the US government’s intention to sell the building and use the proceeds to compensate families of victims of Iran-linked terror attacks.
Calling the court’s decision to approve the seizure a “completely political and propaganda decision,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said the foundation was a US charity with “no links to Iran,” according to AFP.
She also hinted Iran might sue the US over the seizure of the 5th-avenue tower – the largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture.
The Iranian press burst with indignation over the “ridiculous” settlement, with PressTV calling into question whether the intended recipients of the sale money were terror victims at all, stating there was “no proof” Iran was linked to any terrorist activity and highlighting the Alavi Foundation’s nonprofit status. The Tasnim news agency, meanwhile, based its report on the reaction of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said the “illegal” decision proved Iran’s “enemy” was “spiteful and untrustworthy.”
Wait a minute, “enemy” or “negotiating partner”? Depends on which Iranian leader you ask…