Statement from John Winter, lawyer for the Alavi Foundation:
The Alavi Foundation is an independent not-for-profit entity organized under the laws of New York. It is not owned by, controlled by, or linked to the Iranian Government. The Foundation has been in operation for over 35 years and, since its inception, has been in compliance with all applicable federal and state registration and reporting requirements.
The Foundation does not support a “brand of hateful Islam.” To the contrary, the Foundation supports other U.S.-based not-for-profit entities offering education and cultural programs relating to interfaith harmony, Islamic culture and the Persian language. Leading universities in the United States, including Columbia University, Harvard University, Rutgers University and Sacred Heart University have received support from the Foundation.
In the early 1970s, Bank Melli provided the Foundation with financing for the construction of the building located at 650 Fifth Avenue here in New York City. In 1989 with the consent of a New York judge and in accordance with the New York’s Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, the Foundation created a partnership with ASSA Corporation and transferred ownership of the building located at 650 Fifth Avenue to the partnership. As part of the formation of the 1989 partnership, the loan to Bank Melli was repaid. This transaction has been a matter of public record for almost twenty years.
The U.S. Department of Treasury did not identify Bank Melli as being owned or controlled by the Government of Iran until 1999, or twenty years after the Foundation received a mortgage from Bank Melli and ten years after the mortgage was repaid.