Friday, December 31, 2010

Big Powers Meet Iran - Why is Iran Targeted for Sanctions and War Threats?

The U.S. and Israel purport that Iran's nuclear program is a threat to other countries in the region, but is this really true? Iranian nuclear physicists have been kidnapped and assassinated, recent Wiki-leaks cables revealed that last year the U.S. agreed to "quietly transfer" bunker-busting bombs to Israel, and on December 21, the United States Congress unilaterally imposed more stringent sanctions on Iran and its representatives. Who is threatening whom?
Come hear a panel of speakers who will discuss what these events reveal about U.S. and Israeli foreign policy and present up-dates on Iran's stance in negotiations.

Friday, January 14, 2011       Time: 7 – 9 PM

Place: Grace & St. Paul’s Church
123 West 71st Street (between Amsterdam & Broadway)
New York, NY 10023 (Subway very close)


Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, an anti-racist, anti-war organization working to prevent intervention and war, and defend civil and human rights of working people at home and abroad. Mr. Becker is an experienced organizer in the political arena of the U.S., which has given an impetus to broadening the anti-war movement.

Ray McGovern is a former Intelligence Analyst who worked for over 27 years in seven U.S. administrations. Ray, a native NY’er, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University. In 2003, together with other former CIA employees, McGovern founded the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity or VIPS. In January 2006, in Atlanta, McGovern publicly challenged Donald Rumsfeld in what became a mini-debate on live TV (lots of coverage on YouTube). Mr. McGovern was recently arrested along with 134 other peace advocates and U.S. Veterans calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator and writes the website His analysis of United States foreign policy and Middle East issues can also be found in numerous other online and print publications.

Sponsored by: American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) Endorsed by: WESPAC Mid-East Committee, David Swanson,, PakUSA Freedom Forum, Phil Wilayto, Author, “In Defense of Iran…”, Elliot Abrams - Veterans for Peace*, The Granny Peace Brigade, NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia  (List in formation) Email Contact: or call: 914-273-8852 *For Identification Only

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Letter of Support to Turkish Ambassador

 AMERICAN IRANIAN FRIENDSHIP COMMITTEE (AIFC) email:     Tel: 914-273-8852 or 917-853-8020

Executive Board:
Ardeshir Ommani
Eleanor Ommani
Kazem Azin
Azita Shafazand

June 7, 2010

Namık TAN
Ambassador, Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Avenue,
N.W Washington, D.C. 20008
Fax: 202-612-6744
Cc: Mehmet Samsar, Consulate General, Turkey
      Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

Your Excellency, Mr. Tan:

We are writing to express our condolences, salute your Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul and express our outrage at the recent events surrounding the cruel murders by Israeli commandos of nine outstanding Turkish citizens aboard the Mavi Marmara, attempting to bring aid to the impoverished residents of Gaza via the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. We regret and mourn very much the deaths of the Turkish citizens whose brave acts of defending the Palestinians and being willing to help break the siege of Gaza cost them their lives.

Sir, your compatriots who have given everything are now heroes to many, not only in the Muslim world but to Europeans and Americans who hunger for justice and peace in the Middle East. Our organization, the American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), since its founding in 2004, has advocated dialogue, adherence to international treaties and laws and promoted multi-lateral discussion in resolving all international conflicts between nations. We have stated that the Israeli blockade against the people in Gaza is illegal, immoral and inhuman and must be ended. We honor the Turkish people and organizations who work to end the siege of Gaza, and we support Turkey’s efforts and stance at the United Nations and in international institutions calling for Israel to be held accountable to all international treaties and obligations.

On another issue, we are adamantly opposed to war, military invasion and occupation. Thus, we deeply welcomed the efforts of Turkey’s prime minister, Mr. Erdogan, and Brazil’s President Lula De Silva, in acting as a bridge between the P+5 countries and Iran on resolving the nuclear enrichment issue, and on reducing tensions in the Middle East. We applaud such diplomatic efforts as being to the benefit of the people in the Western countries and all the people of that region. We look toward a deepening of ties between the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey. Our people share many cultural and historical ties.

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the AIFC, we once again express our unity and solidarity with the Turkish people and government.

Ardeshir Ommani, AIFC
Eleanor Ommani, AIFC
Kazem Azin, AIFC
Azita Shafazand, AIFC
Karla Hansen, Iowans For Diplomacy
Prof. Ismael Hossein-zadeh, Ph.D., Drake University

Sunday, April 18, 2010


In response to American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) sending out a link to our website:, and inviting comments about AIFC's news and views, we received the following honest assessment from an American friend in the U.S. peace movement: "Not being a political analyst, I don't think I have anything to say that might enlighten anyone or change their position on any point. However, on the question of "nukes" I don't understand the reasoning that some can have and others not. This doesn't make sense to me. However, as I've said before I'm opposed to nuclear power as well as nuclear weapons worldwide. We're going to leave future generations stockpiles of nuclear waste. For forty years these stockpiles continue to grow around the world, and no one has a clue what to do with them.

Furthermore, in spite of claims to the contrary, the closer one lives to a nuclear power plant, the greater their risk for cancer. Indian Point [nuclear power plant in Westchester, New York State] is polluting the land and the water, kills millions of fish every year and poses a threat to the people of our own region. Because of the nuclear waste, it will remain a danger even if we're finally able to get it closed down. So, while I think Iran has as much right to place a horrible facility in their country as anyone else, I think it's a terrible idea and don't support it for the reason mentioned above.

The war in Afghanistan is a nightmare. I doubt that it will ever come to an end unless the citizens of the U.S. come out in the millions and demand that it be stopped. As a group, our spirits are broken and minds too distracted by debt, loss of employment, homes and invested savings, for the peace movement to regain the necessary momentum. Meanwhile, our young people, our money and our reputation goes down the drain and our enemies grow along with loss of life and the national debt. I think it's an immoral war that cannot be won, and I don't need any particular website to influence that feeling.

While I certainly don't demonize Ahmadinejad, I don't applaud him either. It seems as though he makes statements that diminish his credibility and don't help dispel the falsehoods that are bandied about in the media. While I question the right of our government to arrest and incarcerate certain individuals, I also question the right of Iran to arrest and incarcerate certain individuals.

You may call me a cynic or a fool [or both], but I can't think of any current world leader that I believe to be above reproach or that I fullt trust at the present time. Worse yet, I don't think that there is any reporting which is straighforward; it all seems to be slanted one way or another. It's disheartening as well as confusing. "

Ms. C.A. in New York

Monday, February 15, 2010

Iran at a Crossroads

February 8, 2010
By Ahmad Aleagha
In the current era, the political and economic systems of all countries around the globe, maybe more so of Iran, are in the buffer zones. These transitions in and out of different political and economic systems are happening faster now than ever in human history. This is due to availability of information, and the speed of its transmission to every country in the world. Also, more importantly, there are precedents of different political and economic systems which have been experienced somewhere in the world, i.e. dictatorship or democracy, capitalism or socialism, parliamentary or kingdomship, communism or oligarchy, etc.
Similar to democracy, advancement in political and economic systems is a process within a country. Unfortunately, these advancements can be reversed, opposite to the classical education, as an example.  Russia circumvented this process, jumping up three steps, going from feudalism or tsarist autocracy to communism. Russia is now back, going through capitalism and democracy. China has mixed capitalism, democracy, and communism. The Scandinavian countries are going through this process better than most other countries (social democratic systems).
From the early 1900's, while the rest of the world was trying different systems by hitting each other on the head (World War I and World War II), and hitting the heads of their own people (revolutions), the United States progressed. The United States experienced democracy, industrialism, capitalism, and even socialism. Now, it is back to an oligarchy, way back to the Pharaoh-type oligarchy. The U.S. was the best candidate for socialism, starting in the early 1900’s, and probably would have been ready to advance to communism by now.
There are many socialistic-type programs in the United States’ social texture: social security, unemployment benefits, unionized workers, food stamps, welfare, Medicare, etc.  . These advancements were easy and fast, especially after World War II. This caused Americans not to progress politically, similar to their ancestors in Europe. These naïve, innocent people were taken for a ride by a few people for their own benefits. The oligarchs were in the Democratic party up until the Reagan era, and since then, has been taken advantage of the Republican party.
The U.S. oligarchy has been responsible for the destruction of humanity in the past 60-70 years. They have participated in over 150 wars, directly or indirectly, killing millions, according to one of my intellectual friends, Ardeshir Ommani.   
Members of the U.S. oligarchy call themselves neo-conservatives, or “neo-cons” nowadays. A “neo-con” is defined as a person who is super-rich, with an ego as big as the world, and mostly (but not all) Jewish. Zionism is one of their tools. Joe Biden, a non-Jew vice-president, said, “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist”. This oligarchy phenomenon goes back to the Pharaoh’s time. The Pharaoh’s oligarchy built those gigantic pyramids for their minute (by comparison) coffins.   Moses freed those oppressed in Pharaoh’s time, similar to Jesus freeing people from the Roman Empire.
Iran, being an ancient civilization, has seen it all.  If it was not due to the powerful British Empire and the U.S. oligarchy, Iran would have had an advanced social and democratic system. This is probably true with most countries in the world, as we see how these evil forces control the world, including the Americans themselves, for the worse. Right now, Iran is a melting pot of all the possible economic and political systems. Religion in an adhesive force to keep Iranians united against the U.S. oligarch, similar to other countries in the Middle East. Is it a coincidence that the U.S. oligarchy is misusing 80 million evangelists as a driving force?
Iranians need to stay united against the dark force, and be patient in going through the economic and political process step by step.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"I am a strong proponent of law, order and justice."

The link below was sent to me by a friend and an active member of the Green Movement. I had written:  "What attracted my attention was the threat made by Dr. Habibollah Payman, if their offer with regards to prisoners is not accepted. My point is how can any authority decide to release prisoners if they have violated the laws of the land, burning the public and private properties, and causing the deaths of other human beings? Eradatmand, Ardeshir Ommani 

The following posting by a member of the AIFC is a response to the above email and statement with regard to release of "political" prisoners in Iran, per this link:
Dr. Habibollah Payman: Iran's Political Structure

"Dear Ardeshir Ommani,         February 07, 2010

Thank you so much for your email regarding the Dr. Payman’s interview.

Per this interview, and my previous understandings, the Green Party’s main issue is free election within the Islamic Republic constitution, which, “has not been implemented”. Dr. Payman’s point in this matter refers to, not only in the last election, but in any other previous elections.

We need to remember that Dr. Payman is NOT a member of the Green Party. He is a political activist from the “Muslim Movement Activist”.  He calls for peaceful demonstrations by the Green Party during the 22nd of Bahman ceremony. I, from the AIFC, push further than what he suggests; I think there should be no demonstrations by the Green Party at all in that day. One never can anticipate what kind of mess mobs can create among the masses of people.

With regard to the political prisoners in Iran, there has to be innocent, non-rioters, and also extremists (who strongly believe in their cause, like a lot of people, especially youngsters), among those prisoners.  I am a strong proponent of law, order, and justice. I also am a believer in that saying, “It’s better to let a thousand guilty men go free than to convict one innocent person”.

There is something called justice, but also there is something called diplomacy, thoughtfulness, and /or politics, that need to be considered in this situation. With all that said, I think it is a good politics that the government of Iran politicized two or three extreme riot cases. Bring about strong evidence against them and charge them with the destruction of properties. Having political prisoners in general, especially in today’s Iranian political atmosphere, is the least desirable policy.

No opposing political party is responsible for rioters. I am sure they were delighted of the demonstrations. We need to remember that the people of Iran had been quiet for at least 8 eight years.

At the end, I think or at least I hope that almost all the eleven million voters, Green or otherwise, are not as much against Ahmadinijad, if any, as they are for more freedom in Iran. The timing of those demands is my question. On that, I trust the wisdom of those eleven million voters, like Dr. Habibollah Payman, in this matter. "

Submitted by: Ahmad Aleagha

Monday, February 1, 2010

Obama's "Dialogue/Negotiation" Iran Strategy Falters

When Obama entered the White House, many Americans who voted for him had high expectations and great hopes that he would be able to carry out significant changes in the arena of foreign policy. All eyes were on Obama to part from the aggressive, disastrous war policies of Bush and Cheney and abandon the hostile rhetoric and the belligerent mentality of “We’re the Superpower” who runs the world. American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) supported Obama in his bid for the White House because of his promise to “negotiate” and carry out “dialogue with Iran”. Up to this point, however, President Obama is failing miserably to carry out any substantial changes in the disastrous war-prone foreign policy direction, and most recently his administration has been ratcheting up the calls for sanctions and war against Iran, which once again is being cast in the American media as the country presenting a “nuclear threat” to the U.S. Why?

One of the first warning signs that the campaign rhetoric would not meet the reality was when Obama appointed many of the so-called “experienced” faces from the Father Bush era and the Clinton Administration who were well-known for their close association with the pro-Israeli Zionist lobby – AIPAC, and their ties to the U.S. military machine. While the patriotic and peace-loving Americans diligently worked during the presidential campaign to expose the danger of the war profiteers, only initially did Obama put distance between some of the most rabid neocons and anti-Iran ideologues in the U.S., whose anti-terrorist hysteria had been successfully unleashed during the previous eight years to fuel the drive for war against Iraq and Afghanistan. Using the excuse of “continuity” and “experience” his appointments of Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State as well as Rahm Emmanual, and Pentagon Secretary Robert Gates and for a time Dennis Ross, all characters with an admittedly hostile attitude toward not only Iran, but also toward the beleaguered people of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, forewarned of a lack of genuine commitment for peace in the Middle East. Whenever he had the chance to appoint more balanced political forces, he pushed them aside in favor of the servants of the pro-Israeli state. Furthermore, Obama’s lack of willingness to confront the pro-Zionist and pro-war section of the American political elite and giving legitimacy and voice to the conservative elements that work relentlessly in Washington to feed the grotesque U.S. military budget at the expense of all other social and economic programs may be the fatal error that will engineer the weapons-laden U.S. freight train right into another collision.

Those Iranians and Americans who think that Obama has not been able to normalize relations with Iran because of Iran’s unwillingness to do so, and those who put the blame on the toughness of Ahamdinejad are completely wrong and overlooking the real economic forces at play. History shows that the U.S. does not need excuses to wage war, or militarily attack others, evidenced by the undeniable involvement in more than 200 military adventures and attacks abroad in the brief history of the United States of America.

By Eleanor Ommani, Co-founder of American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An open letter to U.S President, Barack Obama, regarding the abuse
of my human rights by one of the world’s leading academic
institutions, Harvard University

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, Ph.D.
January 6, 2010

Dear President Obama:

I write this letter to complain about the egregious and continuing
abuse of my human rights by the venerable institution that is
Harvard University. The nature of the mistreatment and rights
violation perpetrated against me is so appalling and so injurious to
the norms of a free and civilized society that it is bound to shock the
conscience of any decent human being.
As an Iranian-American political scientist and author of several
books and numerous scholarly articles, including in Harvard
Theological Review and Harvard International Review, as well as
dozens of oped articles in The New York Times, Washington Post,
Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle,
etc., I appeal to Your Excellency to intervene in this matter, just as
you did recently in the matter of false arrest of a prominent African-
American Harvard professor.
As a first generation Muslim immigrant who came to the United
States many years ago hoping to fulfill his dream of life, liberty, and
the pursuit of academic excellence, I assure you that the long, cruel
mistreatment that I have suffered in the hands of agents and
administrators of Harvard University represents a dark page in
America’s treatment of its Muslim minority population. The famed
author and linguist at M.I.T., professor emeritus Noam Chomsky, has
aptly described Harvard’s mistreatment as “a shameful chapter in
American history and at one of its cherished institutions.” Howard
Zinn, the famed historian and professor emeritus at Boston
University, has written, “it is outrageous what they have done to Dr.
Afrasiabi.” Similarly, Mr. Mike Wallace, the now-retired veteran
correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” who testified as my character
witness in my civil rights action against Harvard University and its
police department, has been quoted in Boston Globe, “I admire Dr.
Afrasiabi. He is an honorable man. The canons of Harvard are lined
up against a pea shooter.”

In addition to Wallace, Chomsky, and Zinn, a number of other
luminaries including the filmmaker and author, Mr. David Mamet,
have publicly criticized Harvard and even some faculty members at
Harvard such as the law professor, Allan Dershowitz, and the
Kennedy School of Government professors Joseph Nye and Mathew
Bunn have also expressed their concerns about my situation --
unfortunately to no avail as the University has continued with its
flagrant pattern of abusive behavior toward me and has refused to
apologize for subjecting me, a former post-doctoral research scholar
at Harvard, to a retaliatory false arrest and incarceration, public
defamation, and systematic blacklisting not only at Harvard but also
elsewhere in the US academia through its vast network, e.g., a
Harvard-graduate-turned vice-president of the Middle East Institute,
Mr.David Mack, unilaterally withdrew my scholarship at the Institute
solely on the basis of his affiliation with Harvard. Both professors
Chomsky and Zinn and Mr. Wallace have written letters of concern
to the Middle East Institute in Washington, urging them to treat me
with respect, without ever receiving any response.
To elaborate on the nature of my conflict with Harvard, in 1995 I had
threatened legal action against a Harvard professor by the name of
Roy Mottahedeh by hiring an attorney, Mr. Kevin Molloy, who had
sent a letter to him warning of my intention to sue him for
defamation if Mottahedeh continued with his relentless smear
campaign against me. Also, I had complained against Mr.
Mottahedeh to the ethics committee of Middle East Studies
Association, stating that Mottahedeh had unconscionably lied about
my affiliations with Harvard to Mr. Wallace. Subsequently, Mr.
Wallace would corroborate my allegation in his 1997 letter to the
chief justice of the federal court in Boston, honorable Joseph Tauro,
confirming that he had broken his relations with me after learning
from the former director of Harvard’s Center For Middle East
Studies, Mr. Mottahedeh, that I had never been a post-doctoral
fellow at Harvard and that only later he, Mr. Wallace, had found out
the truth. The Exact text of Mr. Wallace’s letter that has been
entered as evidence in my complaints against Mr. Mottahedeh is as
“Dear Judge Tauro:
I am writing you at the suggestion of Dr Kaveh Afrasiabi. Dr
Afrasiabi served as a consultant to me on matters dealing with Iran,
beginning in March of 1990. I had called him after reading a letter
he had written to the New York Times on the subject of Iran.
After that, he cooperated with me in preparation for a program on
author Salman Rushdie, object of a fatwa by the Ayatollah
[Ruhollah] Khomeini; he also attended two meetings I had with
Andrew Wylie, Mr Rushdie's literary agent.

At the time I dealt with him it was my understanding that he was a
post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, so I was brought up short
when I heard from Professor Roy Mottahedeh of Harvard that
Afrasiabi had never been a post-doctoral fellow at the university.
That assertion shook my confidence in Dr Afrasiabi and led me to
stop asking for his counsel on things Iranian. Only later did I learn
that Dr Afrasiabi had been in fact a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard.
Since that time he has kept me informed of his various scholarly
activities and it is apparent to me that scholars hold him in high
Yours, Mike Wallace
Correspondent, Co-Producer 60 Minutes, CBS”
Dear President Obama:
Sadly, the evil done against me went much further than vilifying and
defaming me with the members of American media and the
academia, including Oxford University where I had applied for a
scholarship. Such vile behavior proved simply as a prelude for a
much more flagrant assault on my freedom and human dignity in
the form of a retaliatory false arrest by Harvard police shortly after
my complaint and lawful threat of a law suit through my attorney
mentioned above.
Concocting a bizarre fictitious crime story and using two of Mr.
Mottahedeh’s direct subordinates as patsy, the Harvard police
subjected me to a high-profile pre-dawn arrest at my home in
Newton, Massachusetts, pursuant to a warrant that cited five counts
of monetary extortion and death threats. According to the police
report, one of Mottahedeh’s female associates, a young lady from
India by the name of Shobhana Rana, had complained that a man
had extorted $250 on two occasions in broad daylight at Harvard
Square and that the “extortionist” somehow knew that she had
access to the ATM card of another Mottahdeh subordinate, a man by
the name of Reza Alavi, and had demanded money from her in
order to get “revenge,” that the same culprit had later on left
threat notes for both Rana and Alavi at their homes, and that Rana
had not disclosed this to any one until Alavi discovers the
discrepancy in his account and approaches her and finds out what
has happened, contacts the Harvard police and both give the police
my physical description and both identify me as the criminal in a
photographic identification procedure. I have provided a detailed
account of this fictitious crime story and the trumped up charges in
my narrative, “Reading Kafka At Harvard” that is available on the

Dear President Obama:
I was a professor of American politics at University of
Massachusetts, author of scholarly books and several opinion
articles in Boston Globe, among others, at the time of my arrest,
without any criminal record and, yet, I was denied bail and kept in
prison for nine days and the Harvard police and spokespersons from
Harvard University loudly trumpeted in Harvard newspapers, local
and national media, as a “result of serious investigation that took
several months,” claiming that there was “a serious threat to kill”
and that it had taken Harvard police several months to apprehend
me since I had “numerous addresses.”
These were all blatant and outrageous lies intended to smear me
and finish me off in the academia. Within a few weeks of my arrest,
both Rana and Alavi were whisked out of the US, with Mr.
Mottahedeh remaining in the background and hiding behind a tall
wall of denial. A Harvard detective who was the principal
investigating officer, Richard Mederos, even introduced a statement
at the subsequent bail hearing that claimed that while I was in his
custody I had confessed to my crime and had promised that it would
not happen again. The purpose of that (completely false and
fabricated) statement by detective Mederos was simply to prevent
my release and to linger the false charges against me.
Fortunately, Harvard’s sinister plan against me did not succeed and
I was released on a bail after my accuser, Rana, appeared in court
and did not identify me. The whole case against me would have
been dropped that day had it not been because of detective
Mederos’s outrageous lie and the prosecutor’s presentation that
both “victims” had identified me in the photographic identification.
Had it not been because of strong show of support by dozens of my
academic supporters as well as intense media scrutiny, the court
may have appeased Harvard by keeping me behind the bars in spite
of the fact that the main “victim” had not identified me as the
culprit in court. Enjoying the full cooperation of a Cambridge
prosecutor, Harvard and its cronies continued their smear campaign
against me by insisting that an actual crime had occurred and that I
was about to “stand trial,” to quote a headline from Harvard
But, after a Boston Herald story that read “Harvard professor’s
galpal accuses his rival of extortion,” and the diligent effort by my
defense attorney that exposed the flagrant contradictions of the
‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ crime story and the retaliatory nature of the
vile accusations against me, I was cleared of all the criminal charges

at the first pre-trial hearing several months later and a judge stated
on record that “after due investigation, there is no evidence
connecting you to any of these charges.”
Dear President Obama:
As a political scientist, I fully understand that the problem of
misidentification and mistaken arrest has long been recognized in
the American legal system and despite my suspicion of a foul play
aimed to silence me, I was content with receiving a formal apology
from Harvard after I was fully exonerated of any wrongdoing. The
negative publicity surrounding my arrest and incarceration, together
with the university’s open endorsement of the untrustworthy crime
story as legitimate, even though it was insulting to any one with a
modicum of intelligence, proved poisonous for my career as I faced
severe backlashes in the form of losing my job, losing a book
contract, and being treated as an academic pariah. My family life
also suffered and the imposed financial pressures played a role in
the break-up of my marriage. With my career in political science
thus destroyed, I then enrolled as a theology student at a local
seminary, Andover-Newton Theological School, culminating in a
number of scholarly writings that were subsequently published in
books published by Harvard University Press, Chicago University
Press, and Wadsworth.
Instead of apologizing and or issuing a statement of regret, the
Harvard University police chief, sent me a letter on the day I was
exonerated, issuing a no-trespass order and warning me that I
would be subject to arrest if I entered not only the Harvard campus
but also any “property belonging to Harvard.” I replied to the notrespass
letter in the form of a letter in Harvard Crimson, asking on
what ground I had been banned and whether or not this was up to
Harvard’s standards to mistreat one of its former visiting scholars
like that?
After a failed mediation, I commenced a defamation and civil rights
law suit against Harvard and vested my hopes in the promise of
equal justice, only to be rudely awakened to the reality of a
horrendous, Kafkaesque strangulation of the legal system by the
mighty Harvard and its legal representatives. As a result, after
nearly eight years of constant struggle in local and federal courts in
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I was denied even a token of
justice as I was robbed of justice and the courts made a mockery of
their neutrality by trampling on their rules of conduct and ruling in
Harvard’s favor in spite of compelling evidence of unlawful
misconduct against me on the part of professor Mottahedeh, his
subordinates, and Harvard police. In each case, I appealed the
unfair verdicts to the higher courts, to the commission on judicial

conduct and, ultimately, to the US Supreme Court, that turned down
my appeal in a close vote in March 2003.
Dear President Obama:
In light of your personal background as a graduate of Harvard Law
School, you would probably find it shocking and completely foreign
to your perception of the American legal system that I have endured
such blatant discrimination in the state and federal courts, so
egregious and below the bar of fair play that, indeed, has no better
description than Kafkaesque through and through. Confining myself
to highlighting the main discriminations, suffice to say the following:
· In the federal case, my own attorney, Margaret Burnham, betrayed me by
refusing to represent me on the eve of the trial, despite a signed contract and
full payment of $6000.00. The jury trial of Harvard defendants, accused of
masterminding a conspiracy to silence me, was scheduled to begin on a
Monday and my attorney’s secretary informed me on the phone of Burnham’s
sudden decision on late Friday afternoon. I approached the bench on day one,
showed the judge the contract with my attorney and asked for a postponement
of the trial so that I could procure an attorney. Instead of granting my
reasonable request, the judge said, “it’s now or never” thus forcing me to
represent myself against a formidable small army of attorneys from four law
firms recruited by Harvard University. I ask: what judge, lawyer or fair
human being in America can possibly defend that judge’s decision, and the
fact that he discriminated against me by not forcing Burnham to represent me
pursuant to her legal obligation or to grant me a brief postponement?
· Prior to the trial, my initial judge resigned from the case, precisely one hour
after a deadline he had given to Harvard to comply with my discovery requests
or face a verdict. After the defendants failed to comply, instead of displaying
the valor of equal justice, judge Tauro preferred to withdraw himself from the
case, citing a flimsy excuse that he had a conflict of interest with one of the
new attorneys that Harvard had brought on board. I ask: is that justice?
· In my defamation case, my judge dismissed my complaint on the day set for
jury trial, right after giving us instructions on jury selection, with the pool of
jurors waiting in the next room. That judge, Hillar Zobel, dismissed my
complaint by reversing himself on all the evidentiary rulings of a mere nine
(9) days earlier, justifying himself with the statement, “a judge can change his
mind.” Judge Zobel’s pro-Harvard favoritism stemmed from the fact that (a)
he was a graduate of Harvard Law, (b) per his own admission on record, was
an active fund-raiser for Harvard, and (c) sat at two oversight committees at

Harvard, including one that covered the university’s Widener Library. It
happened that one of my key witnesses was a librarian by the name of John
Emerson, who in his deposition had admitted that professor Mottahedeh had
vilified me with members of a fellowship committee at Harvard. Due to his
extensive ties with Harvard and the clear conflicts of interest, judge Zobel
should have dismissed himself from the case, but the temptation to subvert
justice in the interest of the university was apparently too great. I borrowed to
place an announcement in the main section of New York Times regarding the
judge’s travesty of justice and the fact that I had lodged a complaint against
him to the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct – that never
bothered to even entertain my complaint let alone responding, just as the
Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers refused to consider my formal
complaint against attorney Burnham, who had betrayed her client. I ask: Is
this justice? Or outrageous injustice?
· At the federal trial, my first witness was Harvard’s chief counsel at the time of
my arrest, attorney Margaret Marshall, who had by then been elevated to the
position of a justice of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Yet,
despite a duly-served subpoena and the absence of any order by the court to
quash my subpoena, attorney Marshall failed to appear in court and the
federal judge refused to compel her testimony as required by law. Several
months after the trial, I testified against Marshall’s nomination as the chief
justice of SJC, at the Massachusetts State House, pointing out that she had
violated the law by defaulting a subpoena. Marshall defended herself by
falsely claiming that her motion to quash the subpoena had been allowed
when, in fact, that was a lie, which I proved with the assistance of court
records, to the members of local media, who reported it. I ask: Is this justice,
remotely in line with the spirit of American justice system that a material
witness was granted judicial immunity simply because she was a judge?
· However, the above were not even the most atrocious aspects of the
miscarriage of justice and there were other, more important ones: the federal
judge dismissed the charges against Mottahdeh’s patsy, Shobhana Rana, who
was a key defendant on trial and, yet, failed to appear in court. I had managed
to take her video deposition before she had fled the country and as a result of
discovery in litigating the case had proved to the court that the evidence
contradicting her statements seriously impeached her deposition testimony.
Case in point, whereas Rana as well as Harvard police had claimed that she
was an employee of the Harvard Middle East Center, the director of that
center, William Graham had under oath flatly denied that she had ever directly
or indirectly worked for that center. Not only that, Rana’s Harvard transcript
showed that her deposition statement that she had a master’s degree and had
written a thesis were false and that she had only a bachelor degree, or that her
written chronology of events of extortion were clearly contradicted by her
photos at BayBank furnished to me by defendants as proof of her
“victimization.” No fair and impartial court would ever dismiss the charges

against a defendant who defaulted a subpoena and whose credibility had been
competently impeached.
· The judge had also dismissed the complaint against Mottahedeh, whose incourt
testimony was flatly contradicted by Mr. Wallace, who charcterized
Mottahedeh as “a schizophrenic, pathetic liar.” Whereas Mottahedeh had
testified that he had never called Wallace to speak about me, Wallace testified
that he remembered clearly talking to Mottahedeh, adding that “he had this
nasty and deprecating voice, trying to make me lose whatever respect I had for
Dr. Afrasiabi.” In dismissing the charges against Mottahedeh and other
defendants, they were in effect granted the luxury of extra-legal immunity.
· But, the final nail in the coffin of my ‘David and Goliath’ battle for justice was
delivered when on Day Eight of the federal trial, the judge reversed himself on
the key evidence that alone proved my complaint of a sinister, malicious, and
inhuman conspiracy. That evidence came in the form of a written finding by
two hand-writing experts that found the hand-writing of the Harvard detective
on trial matching the hand-writing of the purported criminal who had extorted
money. The official transcripts of the trial reflect that on Day Seven, the same
judge had stated, “this is so critical that it can win the case.” Sadly, unable or
unwilling to adjudicate the case fairly against the mighty Harvard, the
honorable federal judge chose the indignity of going down in history as the
judge who saved Harvard from a major public embarrassment, by making a
mockery of American justice, by excluding the experts’ finding as well as
their testimony. Not only that, the judge would give highly defective
instructions to the jurors on probable cause, that left the jurors thinking that
simply because the Harvard police had procured a warrant from a magistrate,
their action was lawful. The judge should have given the appropriate
instructions, based on a clear case laws and US Supreme Court precedents,
that a facially valid warrant can be deemed unlawful if procured by relying on
an untrustworthy crime story, fabricated evidence, and the like.
Dear President Obama:
As someone who spent eight years of his life studying law, writing
hundreds of legal briefs, motions, counter-motions, defeating
several motions to dismiss, handling a complicated federal trial for
ten consecutive days, etc., I submit to you that the travesty of
justice mentioned above cannot be defended by any one, let alone
the enlightened ‘beacon on the hill’ that has acted so oppressively,
discriminatory, and illiberally toward me. The shameful behavior of
Harvard’s attorneys or Harvard spokespersons, in conveniently
ignoring the multiple manifestations of prejudice and favoritism in

courts, and labeling the results as “fair” and “case closed,” has
continued until this day.
It merits adding that in March 2006, I was a speaker at a panel on
Iran and non-proliferation at Harvard Law School, along with other
speakers from the White House, M.I.T. and Harvard, and Harvard
Gazette featured a story about that public event that was webcast,
etc. The Kennedy School of Government and several centers at
Harvard Law sponsored that event. Yet, the very next day, the
Harvard police chief informed me that I would be risking arrest if I
ventured inside Harvard property again. “Outrageous, even by
Harvard’s standards,” professor Chomsky’s reaction to this oddity
indeed captured it.
Also, in my oped article as well as a heated television debate with
Mr. Glen Beck, I defended Harvard’s decision to invite the reformist
former president of Iran to speak, on the subject of ethics of
tolerance in the age of violence, this despite the fact that I was, and
still am, prohibited from entering Harvard (which as a matter of
principle I chose not to raise). How ironic that despite my singular
contribution to the university in that episode, standing up to
Governor Romney in print and on television, the university officials
would not allow me to attend Mr. Khatami’s speech, even though
Mr. Khatami had put me down as one of his guests and a number of
Harvard faculty and research scholars, who have penned joint
articles with me, still adorning Harvard’s websites, strongly
supported me. Sadly, the forces of repression and intolerance lined
up against me at Harvard have overwhelmed every effort from
inside or outside Harvard to put an end to this horrifying ordeal that
has turned my immigrant American dream into a perpetual
Kakfaesque nightmare.
In conclusion, I implore you to examine the facts of my complaint
narrated in this open letter and to take whatever steps necessary in
order to correct this egregious injustice that has seriously affected
the fulfillment of my right to live a free and dignified life in America,
for the simple fact is that I have been robbed of this liberty that is
enshrined in the UN Charter and Declaration of Human Rights.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What is Going On With The Recent Unrest?

This piece was written by a sympathizer of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, with the intention of inviting comments and discussion of his ideas. We therefore encourage responses and polite debate. Please send your comments/analysis to: and put in the Subject Line: Response to Unrest in Iran. Thank you! AIFC Editors

What is going on in the political arena in Iran is what started in the midterm of President Khatami--the formation of two distinct political parties, which most recently declared their existences during the last presidential election. These two established parties were so well known to the Iranian people for so many years, to the point where each party had its own candidate in the final round of the presidential election. The result of the election: Mr. Ahmadinijad (fundamentalists/principalists), with 21 million votes, and Mr. Mousavi (green party/reformists), with 11 million votes.

The election was an appropriate time for the Green Party to announce itself. By marching in the streets at first peacefully, they were showing their discontent with the election results. Later demonstrations turned into riots, using election fraud as their slogan. The principalists also declared their enormous numbers in the streets later. After the issuance of Mr. Mousavi’s letter of “national unity/concession”, Tehran has been quiet.

These events are normal for a new democracy. From all these events, one may conclude: first, there is enough democracy in Iran that allows such demonstrations; second, that Iranians can resolve their differences; and third, that American dollars with its propaganda machine have failed.

The world should recognize that democracy and freedom are stronger now than ever in Iran. Iranians are trying to “walk and chew gum at the same time”, meaning defeat the Imperialists and seek more freedom, concurrently. Iran needs more time for its people to develop, because educated people are often the agents of change.

The Principalists are also for change: “Our problem in Iran is not the woman’s dress code,” Mr. Ahmadinijad said. The Green Party is also against any friendly relationship with the United States: “We did not send any letters to them, like some people did,” Mr. Mousavi wrote.

Iranians now are proving that they are ready to be freed from some of these strict and religious rules, which were established, in part, to combat the Imperialists. The political leaders once more proved that no matter how big their differences are, at the end of the day they unite.

Iran should not have any friendly relationship with the United States and its cronies; otherwise, Tehran would turn into the center of terrorist activity by those neighboring countries oppressed by the United States. Also, depending on the terms and the extent of a relationship with the U.S., Iran’s interests can go either way. It has the potential for Iran to lose its allies around the globe, face economic sanctions and even bombardment and war. Because of its strategic location, its oil, and its growing political power in the Middle East, Iran is important to both the West and the East. Iran needs to benefit from the attention and relations with both sides. Many of the political leaders in Iran have proven to be savvy. Misters Larijani, Khatami, Ahmadinejad, and Mousavi are among the prime examples. Iranian political leaders have done well for the people so far, considering the messy political world situation caused by the powerful oligarchies based in America, Israel, and England. Now is the time for the slogans to say, “With the East AND with the West”.

Mr. Ahmadinejad put emphasis on education, similar to his predecessors. Again, education enables people to change society for the better.

There is no room for violence. It’s obvious not all Green Party members are rioters, but the government needs to punish those who in fact did riot. Mr. Mousavi himself denounced the rioters.

Active democracy was in full swing during this last election in Iran, shown by the fact that 85% of the eligible voters went to the polls and cast their ballots, which beats any western election in modern history. The rate of political progress is directly proportional to the percentage of moderates in a society. In the Iranian political system, there is no need for extremism. Support for one party, at the cost of unjustifiably smashing the other, creates a wedge among Iranians.

But dividing up the Iranian people is exactly what the Imperialists want, and this should not be allowed to continue.

The question now is whether there are enough moderates in Iran to “walk and chew gum at the same time”, meaning to both keep the struggle for independence going while also striving for more freedom.
Submitted by Ahmad Aleagha