Federal prosecutors have moved to seize assets, including a skyscraper and several mosques, allegedly tied to the Iranian government through an organization called the Alavi Foundation. This is a dramatic development in the government's long struggle against the organization. Federal officials accuse the foundation of being a money-making front for Iran, funneling resources to its nuclear program. So why seize the sites now? Pundits outline three tactical and strategic gains:
- Pressure on Iran "This ought to make that whole nuclear deal easier to pull off," writes Ernie Smith at Shortformblog, implying the move is yet another way of putting pressure on the current Iranian regime. "The tenets and occupants of the properties are safe, and they’re not getting kicked out; it’s the owner who is screwed."
- Legal Strategizing in the Case Jeralyn at Talk Left is a bit perplexed at the new addition to preexisting moves to seize assets, but thinks it may "have to do with the fact that Alavi," in the case which began last year, recently "filed a motion to dismiss the complaint ... and the court hasn't yet ruled." She wonders whether perhaps "the Government is adding assets with new theories to defeat the motion to dismiss."
- Bargaining Chips for Three Americans in Iran Maggie at right-wing site Stop the ACLU has a different theory. She thinks this seizure is "not good news" for the three young Americans recently charged with espionage for illegal border crossing in Iran. She suggests, though, that the Iranian mosques might "become bargaining chips" for the Americans' release. Maggie also adds, in what appears to be the theme of the month with the Fort Hood shooting, that "it’s about time radical Islam has a problem with the FBI."