On January 18, 2021, Kaveh Afrasiabi, Iranian and US resident, was arrested at his home by some two dozen armed FBI officers on charges of acting as an unregistered agent of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was released on bail with a security bracelet a week later on a 24-hour curfew except for 4 hours per week for shopping.
He was a paid international affairs consultant to the Iranian Mission to the United Nations for some thirteen years as well as a commentator on international issues. He is a political scientist and author of several books — on Iran, Islam, ecology, Middle East, UN reform, as well as poetry and fiction — and numerous articles in international newspapers and journals. The United States was fully aware of his activities and suddenly, in the last days of the Trump administration, Mike Pompeo had him arrested on these draconian charges with a possible ten-year prison sentence. Federal prosecutors are known for their relentless pursuit of a conviction even if there is potential injustice.
Why would the National Security and Cybercrime Section of the Federal Department of Justice act this way? Is it part of the maximum pressure campaign of the Trump administration? Is this campaign being continued by the Biden Administration? Biden advocated a return to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reversing Trump policy on Iran.
Mr Afrasiabi has continually advocated peace between Iran and the United States. He criticized the unilateral withdrawal of the USA from the JPCOA and the re-imposition of the sanctions on Iran. His website at www.kavehafrasiabi.com/ shows the world his erudite writings including many in favour of truth, justice and détente between the USA and Iran. He had worked tirelessly in support of a US-Iran nuclear deal prior to 2015.
Recent history explains the aggressive behaviour of the US Department of Justice using the power of the law – “lawfare” – to silence critics. The United States is on the defensive, morally, legally, and militarily.
Withdrawal from the JPCOA places the USA in total illegality in international law. The economic sanctions strangling Iran can only be imposed by a resolution of the Security Council under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. No such resolution exists. The contrary is true. The JPCOA was adopted by Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) binding all members of the Security Council including the USA requiring the lifting of all sanctions against Iran. The USA withdrawal is illegal. The USA has no legal justification for the murderous sanctions on Iran. Movements against these sanctions are growing worldwide. Sanctions are slow death depriving people of food and medicine almost like a full-scale war. The American sanctions are likely a crime against humanity in International Criminal Law.
The pernicious all-encompassing illegality of American behaviour in Western Asia reared its head once again with the January 3, 2020 murders ordered by Donald Trump of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad. Both men were heroes in their own countries: Mr Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was one of the most important leaders in Iran while Mr Al-Muhandis was the leader of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), both instrumental in the defeat of the Islamic State. Trump’s orders and the killings were illegal acts in Iraq, illegal in international law and illegal in American law. Member of the House of Representatives for Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, rejected the Trump claim of an imminent threat and called the killings an illegal and unconstitutional act of war. These assassinations led to the Iraqi parliament on January 6, 2020, to require the departure of US forces from Iraq. On January 8, 2020, Iran hit the US base at Ayn al Asad with precision missiles causing massive damage, the first time since the Second World War that the US army has been hit in this way.
The illegality of US actions and Iranian resistance brings us back to Mr Afrasiabi and the unjust criminal prosecution. The departing Trump administration laid these charges to silence an advocate of peace and to sabotage the promised efforts of the Biden administration to return to the JPCOA. The use of this lawfare against Mr Afrasiabi helps to silence him and others who advocate for peace with the Islamic Republic of Iran and raise inconvenient questions about United States foreign policy.
Mr Afrasiabi is alleged to have promoted the interests of a foreign power illegally by not registering properly. The USA has been raising the issue of foreign influence dishonestly for several years now. The Russia Gate propaganda was found to be unfounded. The idea that Mr Afrasiabi, after counselling the Iranian Mission openly at the United Nations for thirteen years, has hidden his role and activities is beyond the scope of reality. Will the Biden administration put an end to this unjust prosecution?
Featured image: File Photo.
(PressTV) by John Philpot