Much has been written about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soft war on the United States, including Tehran’s use of cyber warfare, disinformation, and political espionage. However, few scholars have explored the Islamist regime’s sophisticated network of religious centers, think tanks, academics, and journalists within the United States. Mohammadi, a sociologist and media analyst, presents a one-of-a-kind study of the subversive assets Tehran deploys to influence U.S. policymakers in the absence of a traditional diplomatic mission.

After an opening discussion of Iran’s ideological foundations and its expansionist goals, Mohammadi hits his stride by examining the “institutions and forces” at the regime’s disposal in North America. Al-Mustafa Seminary, located in Qom, Iran, is “the centerpiece of the Shi’i Islamist regime’s propaganda machine abroad”; foreign students who attend the school are sent on field trips to the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war for a crash course on jihad.

Shiite schools in the United States send their brightest students to Al-Mustafa, so they can return home and start cultivating the regime’s brand of Islamism in their own communities. The Alavi Foundation, which Mohammadi claims “is run entirely by the IRI [Iran], and those who think otherwise live in a parallel universe,” underwrites full-time schools in New York City and Houston.

Mohammadi’s analysis drips with such hyperbole, frequently colored by his personal experiences as an Iranian dissident. A seminary student in Qom in 1981, the author experienced first-hand the regime’s religious indoctrination. Later, Mohammadi reports, the Voice of America (VOA), a U.S. tax-payer-funded broadcaster, “blacklisted” him for comparing the Iranian regime to ISIS. In return, he helped expose pro-regime elements within the VOA to Congress.

Similarly, Mohammadi describes regime proxies in American academia, explaining how the University of Maryland uses unscientific polls supplied by “domestic groups” in Iran. Mohammadi writes,

it is not possible for a foreign institution, especially [one] with Iranian staff, to conduct polls inside the country without cooperating with the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and security agencies.

Academia and media provide the intellectual cover that regime lobbyists and influencers need to convince lawmakers to oppose sanctions or support a nuclear Iran. They are helped by “identity politics,” which the author argues “opens rooms for every ideology, including Islamist ones.” Mohammadi comes back to this issue throughout his report, citing leftist ideology to explain why academia is so crowded by anti-Western professors, or how radical Shiite clerics are accepted “as another minority of immigrants, not as a group opposed to the existence of the United States and the West.”

Despite his emotional engagement, Mohammadi reports Iranian bogeymen where they exist. His account is partisan; if one-sided and prone to superlatives, it is also authoritative and truthful.

Source » meforum