NEW YORK – Iran on Sunday denounced as 'disgraceful' U.S. moves to seize four mosques and a New York City skyscraper owned by a Muslim nonprofit organization suspected of Iranian links.
Ali Larijani said the moves show that President Barack Obama's slogan for change was deceitful and he was no different from his predecessor George W. Bush.
"Extension of sanctions and restrictions against Iran for another year by the American president and the blocking the accounts and assets of the Alavi foundation in America is a real disgrace," he told parliament.
"After a year of empty speeches and slogans, the behaviour and conduct of this president in practice is no better than the actions of his predecessor," Larijani added, in his speech broadcast on radio.
In what could prove to be one of the biggest counterterrorism seizures in U.S. history, prosecutors on Thursday filed a civil complaint in federal court against the Alavi Foundation, seeking the forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets.
The assets include bank accounts; Islamic centers consisting of schools and mosques in New York, Maryland, California and Houston; more than 100 acres in Virginia; and a 36-story Manhattan office tower.
Confiscating the properties would be a sharp blow against Iran, which the U.S. government has accused of bankrolling terrorism and trying to build a nuclear bomb, charges Iran has denied.
Obama has offered to engage Iran in dialogue with the hope of reducing tension over the country's nuclear program, which the West fears is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon but Tehran maintains is peaceful.
Obama said Sunday that time is running out for Iran to sign on to a deal to ship its enriched uranium out of the country for further processing.
Iranian politicians have rejected the proposed deal but the government says it is still considering it.
"The recent actions of this country (U.S.), presenting unimportant and irrational proposals in the nuclear issue which they have called just and fair, all indicate that the alleged change was nothing but a deceitful symbol aimed at deceiving naive politicians," Larijani said.