Saturday, May 18, 2024

Iran’s Pistachio Proxies

ResearchInvestigationsIran's Pistachio Proxies

Executive Summary

  • The Amin family is among the leading pistachio producers in America, controlling farms, processing plants and a variety of other businesses in both the United States and Iran. Reportedly related to the Rafsanjani clan, members of the Amin family also fund charitable causes in both the United States and Iran, to the tune of many millions of dollars.
  • The Amin family’s activities in Iran, however, have involved collaboration with Iranian institutions sanctioned by the U.S. government or which are linked to violent regime entities, such as the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terrorist group under United States law.
    • Organizations such as the Iran Pistachio Association, with which the Amin family is closely involved and financially sponsors, appear to be particularly closely involved with the IRGC.
    • One Amin family member works closely with the Pistachio Authority of Iran, part of the regime’s Ministry of Interior.
    • A charity established and run by family members works closely with banks sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury.
    • Regime officials have organized multiple ceremonies honoring Amin family members, while regime websites host flattering biographies of several Amin family members.
    • Members of the Amin family have faced federal scrutiny in the past, including a conviction for illegally transporting $17 million from Iran to the United States. Questions are now being raised about the legality of some family members’ continued financial involvement with sanctioned institutions.
  • The Amins’ charitable distributions are not the result of pure benevolence. Their grant-making foundations distribute large amounts of money to radical causes in the United States, including far-Right conspiracy theorists, far-Left supporters of Tehran, Islamist charities, and organizations long accused of serving as lobbyists or proxies for the Iranian regime. Amin money, distributed through one beneficiary, even appears to have subsidized invective against a rival, Jewish-owned pistachio company loathed by supporters of the Iranian regime.
  • It appears that members of the Amin family, connected to Iranian leadership, today control a considerable pistachio empire, built with the help of fertile Californian soil and Iranian regime institutions. Seemingly, their wealth serves to advance Iranian soft power and propaganda in the United States.

Introduction

Western efforts to contain the threat posed by the regime in Tehran and its decades of brutality and terrorism are most often found in the form of diplomatic denunciations, international treaties, and extensive programs of sanctions and other economic and political pressures. One curious battlefront has been the global pistachio industry, which is dominated by Iran and the United States.

Since 1979, the availability of Iranian pistachios in the West has shadowed, to some extent, the degree to which attempted détente with Iran has been in political fashion.[1] But, as analysts have warned, even a product as benign as the pistachio serves to benefit the most violent components of Iran’s Islamist regime.

In 2002, Michael Rubin noted in the Wall Street Journal that Iran’s former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, “controls more than 70% of Iran’s multimillion dollar pistachio trade.”[2] Indeed, it is in Rafsanjani’s home turf, Rafsanjan County in the Kerman province of central Iran, that the best and the bulk of Iran’s pistachios are grown.

In the past fiscal year, Iran claims to have exported 135,000 tons of pistachios, worth some $915 million.[3] Much of this production today is controlled by Bonyad Mostazafan, an enormous Iranian conglomerate, which the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has “designated.”[4] The U.S. government notes that Bonyad Mostazafan operates under the control of the Supreme Leader and works closely with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), controlling “key sectors [across Iran] such as energy, mining, logistics, information technology, and financial services, which collectively account for a substantial portion of Bonyad Mostazafan’s multi-billion dollar economic empire.”[5]

According to Mehdi Jahan Nejati, a senior manager at Bonyad Mostazafan, the organization “not only owns approximately 2000 hectares of pistachio orchards, but it also owns 95-96% of the pistachio collection terminals in [Iran’s] Kerman province, as well as the processing and packaging facilities.”[6]

This extensive takeover by the IRGC and the Supreme Leader of the country’s leading industrial sectors was instigated by the very same President Hashemi Rafsanjani, according to Iran expert Ali Ansari.[7]

But Bonyad Mostazafan is not the only pistachio producer with close ties to the regime. Across Kerman Province, an array of trade associations, pistachio orchards and related businesses and charities work closely with Bonyad Mostazafan and other sanctioned and designated regime entities. One such company is Amin Padidar, established and run by the Amin family. The brother of Former President Rafsanjani has referred to the Amin family as his blood relations.[8]

As with the Rafsanjanis, the Amin family is from Rafsanjan, in Iran’s Kerman Province. The family is famous in Kerman, acclaimed as businessmen and philanthropists. It started with Ali Amin, who died before the revolution. Today, his biography and picture remain displayed prominently on a regime website run by Iran’s Ministry of the Interior, which states of Ali Amin that, “everyone in the city of Rafsanjan knew him.”[9]

While members of the Amin family are still in Iran today, much of the Amin family is now based in California, where they do not just continue to manage pistachio production back in Kerman, but also have established a considerable number of orchards, a pistachio processing plant and other businesses all across America. They are also leading members of American pistachio trade associations and advocacy bodies. Indeed, the Amins are among the top pistachio processors and producers in the nation.

A lengthy investigation by the Middle East Forum, in collaboration with researchers in Iran and elsewhere – scraping, translating and searching through thousands of Iranian and U.S. public records, including court documents, websites, social media and financial statements – has uncovered alarming findings. Members of this powerful wealthy family, which has an active presence in both Iran and the United States, have collaborated with the Iranian regime and IRGC entities, illegally transported millions of dollars into the United States, and are helping to finance an assortment of pro-Tehran proxies and other radical forces all across America.

The Amin Family

The Amin family’s beginnings in America start with Ali Akbar Amin. In 1952, Ali Akbar moved to the U.S. Spotting an opportunity, he began to import Iranian pistachios into America, eventually becoming the U.S. representative of the Iran Pistachio Export Company, an Iran-based entity run by his own family and three others.

By the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979, however, the Iran Pistachio Export Company had broken up after a series of bad decisions, bad luck and political change. By then, Ali Akbar had established his own company, named Homa, importing pistachios into the United States not just before the revolution, but for several years afterwards as well. He coordinated his work with his brother, Abbas Amin, who remained in Iran.

Eventually, as a consequence of tariffs imposed by the U.S. government, pistachio imports from Iran became unprofitable. By the 1980s, Ali Akbar had built his own processing plants, and began to plant his own orchards in California. It was during this period that he became acquainted with Stewart Resnick, a business rival and today one of the wealthiest farmers in America.[10]

Resnick, Ali Akbar and others reportedly purchased pistachio orchards from oil companies, which, according to Ali Akbar, had built enormous numbers of farms and orchards as a tax write-off, until a change in the law in 1984.[11]

Although Ali Akbar remained in the United States, he continued to invest in Iran. Around 2002, he established the Anar branch of Iran’s Azad University,[12] which analysts today consider an important component of Tehran’s “soft power” efforts.[13] University faculty members stand accused of working on the regime’s nuclear and missile programs.[14]

Ali Akbar’s other brother, Hossein Amin, initially remained in Iran, where, along with Abbas Amin, he also developed a reputation as a philanthropist and a successful businessman. Eventually, Hossein moved to the United States, where he died in 2008.

Hossein’s son, Ali Amin (who shares his name with his grandfather), worked with Ali Akbar for many years. With the help of both Hossein and Ali Akbar,[15] Ali Amin founded Primex International Trading Corporation (Pitco) in 1989.[16] In the following years, Ali Amin also established Primex Trading in Germany, and Primex Farms in California’s San Joaquin Valley.[17] This was the beginning of a large assortment of pistachio industry institutions controlled by the family.

Ali’s brother, Michael Amin (also known as Mahmood Michael Amin), for instance, is today the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Primex Worldwide,[18] which owns a significant portfolio of agricultural assets, including pistachio farms.[19]

Today, Primex International owns and farms over 5,000 acres of pistachio orchards in California. Primex Farms, meanwhile, claims to be “the world’s third largest pistachio processor.”[20]

Meanwhile, Michael and Ali’s cousin, Mark Amin, runs AminAg, along with his brother, Hassan Amin. AminAg claims it “acquires, develops and operates agricultural property with a primary focus in the permanent crop sector,” mainly pistachios. AminAg claims to own some 18,000 acres of orchards and farmland in California and Arizona.[21]

Ali and Michael’s mother Parvin Taj Aresteh Kermani manages charities in both America and Iran. Although seemingly not directly involved with the Amin family’s companies in the United States, nonprofit filings for Kermani list her address as that of Ali Amin’s Primex International.[22]

The Amins’ business interests are varied, and their wealth is vast.  In the U.S, the family has profited handsomely as the price for pistachio farmland has increased over the decades, now selling for between $30,000 to $48,000 per acre in Kern County, where much of the family’s land is located.  An examination of corporate registry databases reveals that the Amins are serial company creators, with dozens of active and dormant companies based on both the East and West Coast relating to their pistachio businesses. However, they also hold significant real estate holdings, and maintain bank accounts and businesses around the world, from Switzerland and Germany to Panama.[23] In previous decades, they even established a “talking yellow pages,[24] and the “QuickPix one hour photo chain,” among other now-defunct ventures.[25] 

In addition, Mark Amin is a prominent Hollywood producer, serving as CEO of Sobini films, and working with leading Hollywood stars in the past two decades, and serving on the board of major production companies.[26] Ali Akbar once made use of Mark’s prominence, claiming to have brought a popular Iranian artist to the United States with Mark’s help.[27]

Amid all this success, the Amin family has attracted federal scrutiny. In 2012, Michael Amin, Mark Amin, his brother Reza Amin, and several others settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for nearly $2 million after the agency charged them with insider trading concerning a company named DuPont Fabros Technology.[28]

Mark and Reza’s legal troubles were quickly overshadowed by Ali Amin, who, in 2015, pleaded guilty to transporting $17 million illegally through unlicensed means from Iran to the United States, using family members and family businesses to effect the transfers.[29] Other Amin family members, including Ali’s brother, as well as his cousins, Fatemeh Amin and her unnamed brothers, were also implicated in the prosecution’s case. [30] Fatemeh was found guilty in a U.S. District Court of having filed a false tax return.[31]

But the problems with the Amin family extend beyond financial misdeeds.

Ideologically, several members of the family are openly radical. Michael Amin regularly posts a wide variety of extremist rhetoric on his social media, citing both far-Left and far-Right sources regularly. His posts include wildly anti-Semitic claims about Jewish genetics and alleged Jewish control over the media and the government.[32]

His cousin Reza is even more explicit. His social media is replete with conspiracy theories about a “zio-globalist” world order, regularly reposting regime talking points, alongside exuberant admiration for Russia’s Putin and China’s President Xi.[33]

A leading figure in the Los Angeles Iranian community who asked not to be named told the Middle East Forum that the Amin family’s links to the regime are “well-known” among Los Angeles Iranians, and that this figure believes “these moles [are] nesting in our community, taking advantage of the laws in this country for their dark agendas.”

As a result of Ali Amin’s criminal record, donations he had made to the presidential campaigns of politicians Tulsi Gabbard and Kamala Harris were returned by the candidates.[34]

Indeed, an investigation by the Middle East Forum has found that the Amin family, it seems, never gave up their interests in the Islamic Republic. Today, multiple members of the Amin family continue to run businesses and work with the Iranian regime, while also serving Iran’s radical interests within the United States.

The Amins in Iran

The most important of the Amin family’s business ventures in Iran is Amin Padidar, which handles the family’s pistachio production in Iran. Amin Padidar, also known as Amin Farms, claims to manage over 2000 hectares of pistachio orchards and a pistachio processing plant in the Kerman region of Iran, close to the city of Rafsanjan. The company also operates an office in Tehran.[35]

Although founded by the Amin family, today Amin Padidar is claimed as a subsidiary of Kourosh Investment Group, which itself was established by the Golrang Industrial Group in 2007.[36]

Despite Golrang’s ownership, multiple members of the Amin family, including Ali, Michael and Parvin Kermani – as well as others based in the United States and Iran – have continued to oversee the company’s operations in Iran as board members and “auditors.”[37] In 2015, federal prosecutors stated that Ali Amin continues to own “50 percent of Amin Padidar.”[38]

That the Amin family retains tight control over Amin Padidar’s finances is clear. Indeed, it was through Amin Padidar that Ali Amin transported over $17 million from Iran to the United States illegally. According to the FBI:

…from 2007 through 2011, Amin used bank accounts of Amin Padidar in Tehran, an account in Switzerland, an Amin Padidar affiliate, and Pitco [Primex International Trading Company] in the United States, to transfer money from persons in Iran to persons in the United States designated to receive the money. To effect the transfers, people in Iran, typically Amin’s friends and family members, first deposited Iranian rials with Amin Padidar in Iran. Upon confirmation of the receipt of those funds, Amin directed Pitco to transfer an equivalent amount of money from domestic Pitco accounts to the United States-based bank account of people designated to receive the funds. Amin would also use a bank account in Switzerland to transfer funds from Iran to the United States for family members of Amin.[39]

Amin Padidar’s parent company, Golrang, is closely involved with the regime and its paramilitary force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization.

Under radical regimes, charitable and financial manipulation are often closely linked for the purpose of ideological advancement. Iran offers perhaps the best example of this model, and companies such as Golrang are key partners in the regime’s imposition of tight economic and social control over the Iranian people. In 2022, Golrang provided $92 million for a collaboration with the IRGC to build 2,200 apartments in Iran’s Hormozgan Province. The project also involved other regime entities, including the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, Bonyad Mostazafan, the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (SETAD or EIKO), the IRGC-affiliated Aftab Oil Refinery Company, and the Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation (IRHF).[40]

SETAD is also explicitly sanctioned. The U.S. government describes it as “a business juggernaut under the direct supervision of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that has a stake in nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications, and financial services. EIKO has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property from opponents of the regime, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians, while, according to its leader Mohammad Mokhber, being tasked by the Supreme Leader to implement a ‘resistance economy.’”[41]

Other agreements include Golrang’s partnership with the IRGC, Bonyad Mostazafan and the IRHF, to construct 1,470 residential units in Tehran,[42] 760 residential units in Hamedan province,[43] 40,000 residential units in Fars province,[44] and 3,000 apartments in Ardebil province.[45]

Golrang has also signed cooperation agreements with other key regime institutions subject to international sanctions.

In late 2022, for instance, Golrang’s board met with the head of Iran’s Bank Sina to sign a “cooperation agreement.”[46] Golrang’s own subsidiary, Kourosh, holds a significant number of shares in Bank Sina, but at least 60% of the institution’s shares are owned by Bonyad Mostazafan,[47] which the U.S. Department of the Treasury describes as a “an immense conglomerate of some 160 holdings in key sectors of Iran’s economy, including finance, energy, construction, and mining … used by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to enrich his office, reward his political allies, and persecute the regime’s enemies.”[48]

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has “designated” Bonyad Mostazafan, as well as Bank Sina, which the government describes as “Bonyad Mostazafan’s holding company in the investment and financial services industry.”[49]

The European Union, meanwhile, has listed Bank Sina in a list of “Persons and entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities and persons and entities providing support to the Government of Iran.”[50]

The Alavi Foundation also owned 8% of the bank as of 2018. [51] The Alavi Foundation, which “operates under the aegis of Bonyad Mostazafan,”[52] once operated openly in the U.S, funding Shia mosques and other institutions across the country, before federal scrutiny in 2017 over its role as an Iranian regime proxy ended its operations.[53]

Golrang also works closely with Iran’s Saman Bank, which in 2020 the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated as a sanctioned entity.[54] Saman Bank has ties with Bonyad Mostazafan. For instance, former Bonyad Mostazafan official Behzad Golkar has served as an executive and board member of multiple companies owned by Saman Bank,[55] while also serving as CEO of Bonyad Mostazafan-owned Sina Holding.[56]

Amir Moghadam – an Iranian defector whom Reuters reports once served as “head of public relations and also parliamentary affairs envoy in the office of [Iran’s] vice president for executive affairs”[57] – has published claims that Saman Bank owners are closely tied to regime, and own companies that produce the IRGC’s uniforms.[58]

Iran Pistachio Association

In the past fiscal year, Iran claims to have exported 135,000 tons of pistachios, worth some $915 million.[59] While Amin Padidar is an important producer, the vast majority of Iranian pistachio production is carried out by subsidiaries of the regime’s Bonyad Mostazafan. According to Mehdi Jahan Nejati, a senior manager at Bonyad Mostazafan, the organization “not only owns approximately 2000 hectares of pistachio orchards, but it also owns 95-96% of the pistachio collection terminals in [Iran’s] Kerman province, as well as the processing and packaging facilities.”[60]

The pistachio-producing subsidiaries of Bonyad Mostazafan are also closely tied to the IRGC. The CEO of the Arian Milan Company for instance, is Mohammad Hossein Karimipour, who also serves as Vice-President of the IRGC-connected Organization for Literature and History of Holy Defense.[61]

It seems all these pistachio-focused subsidiaries, and Amin Padidar, collaborate through a trade group known as the Iran Pistachio Association (IPA).

The IRGC-linked company Arian Milan is listed as a financial sponsor of the IPA, alongside Sirjan Bonyad, the primary pistachio subsidiary of the regime’s Bonyad Mostazafan.[62] The Sirjan Bonyad website states that the organization serves to “[implement] the policies of Mostazafan Foundation of the Islamic Revolution.”[63]

The front of the Jihad Nasr Kerman branch’s website, featuring a portrait of the Supreme Leaders, and praising the “sacrifices of the jihadists” as a “shining point in the history of the Islamic Revolution.”[66]

Moreover, The IPA is funded and run by current and former IRGC officials, and officials with ties back to the IRGC. Individual financial sponsors to the IPA include Majid Bazian and Mohsen Jalalpour,[64] who serve on the board of Kerman Momtazan Steel Company, which belongs to the Kerman branch of the IRGC’s Jihad Nasr.[65]

Mohammad Hassan Shamsfard, another financial contributor to the IPA,[67] is a director of the Darmangah Fereshteh Charity, a charity controlled by members of the Islamic Education Society (Jame’e Talimat Islami),[68] which itself is controlled by officials tied to the IRGC and Supreme Leader’s Office.[69]

Meanwhile, Fatemeh Mohtashami, who serves on the IPA’s board of directors, is described as an active member of the IRGC’s Basij force (a paramilitary militia).[70] Further investigation by the Middle East Forum uncovered another half dozen IPA officials and contributors who also work for regime or IRGC-controlled institutions.

IPA officials also work closely with government departments. Regime websites reveal not just IPA officials coordinating their work with the government,[71] but also that the IPA receives financial subsidies from the regime.[72]

IPA members meeting with Iranian regime officials
Ali Amin posing with an IPA member at the Anuga Festival

These regime and terror officials share the IPA with members of the Amin family and their company, Amin Padidar. Indeed, Michael Mahmood Amin is listed as IPA’s most generous financial “sponsor,”[73] while Ali Amin speaks at IPA events and gives interviews on its website, most recently in April 2023,[74] and is photographed in IPA publications at IPA events.[75] Dozens of reports from the Amin’s U.S. company, Primex, also appear across the IPA website and publications.[76]

One interview with the IPA – and publicized on its website – even took place in Florida, with a senior IPA official, Hamed Ramezani Karim, interviewing Amin in person.[77] It is unclear whether immigration authorities were aware of this official’s IRGC connections through the IPA.

Pistachio Authority of Iran

The Amin family also features prominently across the website and social media of the Pistachio Authority of Iran, which operates under the regime’s Ministry of the Interior, with offices in Rafsanjan’s Presidential Museum.

Two prominent profiles of Ali Akbar Amin as well as his father (also named Ali Amin) feature under a section of the website titled “Celebrities of the pistachio industry.”[78] Dozens of photos and video of the Amin’s orchards in the United States, apparently provided by the younger, current Ali Amin himself,[79] can be found across the association’s channel on the Telegram messaging platform, along with hagiographies of Amin family members.[80]

Mixed in with this all this flattery is a variety of posts from the Pistachio Authority of Iran for the terroristic Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, including posts mourning the death of designated terrorist and IRGC head Qassem Soleimani,[81] as well as denunciations of the “great Satan, arrogant America” and references to the IRGC as the “army of Islam.”[82]

Philanthropy in Iran

The Amin family maintains other links with the previously mentioned U.S-sanctioned Saman Bank. Parvin Kermani, the mother of Ali and Michael, runs the Amin Arasteh Charity in Iran, which she established between 1994 and 1995. The Amin Arasteh Charity provides various social services, but appears primarily focused on education and scholarships. It is openly financially supported by the Saman Bank.[83]

Indeed, Kermani publicly credits the success of her charity to that support.[84] And it is even possible for Iranians to provide their zakat donations directly to Amin Arasteh through Saman Bank’s ATMs.[85]

Projects carried out by the charity include the funding of the “Mahmoud Amin Dormitory” and various regime-run educational institutions, such as the Anar branch of the Islamic Azad University – the same branch established by Ali Akbar.[86]

The regime appears to hold Kermani in high regard, with the Minister of Health reportedly honoring her work in Iran at a lavish ceremony, at which he declared the efforts of Kermani and other benefactors served to counteract the “enemies of the Islamic revolution.”[87]

Other members of the Amin family acquired prominent reputations for their nonprofit work in Iran. Zohra Amin, for instance, was recently in Iran to open a building at the Imam Reza Technical College, where she spoke alongside members of Rafsanjan’s Islamic Council under portraits of Iran’s Supreme Leader.[88] The building was constructed in memory of Hossein Amin, the father of Ali and Michael. Zohra, open-source research indicates, is their sister.

Similarly, praise for the charitable work and business savvy of the late Abbas Amin, brother of Ali Akbar, can be found across regime media.[89] Following his death, his wife Nusrat and daughter Fatemeh, who lived in Los Angeles, regularly returned to Iran to continue this charitable work, seemingly in close contact with the regime.

A Rafsanjan newspaper in 2014 reported that Nusrat and Fatemeh were honored by regime officials for their work building and maintaining Golestan Amin, a “cultural mansion” and “artistic” complex that is supported by the regime.[90] Beneath portraits of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, Nusrat and her daughter were handed gifts and a plaque by regime officials, including the governor and a senior regime cleric.[91]

Fatemeh and Nusrat Amin Honored by Regime Officials

In 2015, Fatemeh was convicted for her part in the illegal transfer of millions of dollars from Iran to the United States, in collaboration with Ali Amin. A sentencing memorandum submitted to the United States District Court in California explicitly cited her charitable works in both Iran and the United States, describing it as a continuation of the benevolence of her philanthropist father, Abbas.[92]

Nusrat, meanwhile, was, until her recent death, active in Los Angeles with a Shia organization named the Iman Foundation. Iranian media has praised her efforts to spread Shia Islam in Los Angeles, including claims that she paid for the Islamic call to prayer to be broadcast on Los Angeles radio stations. She did this, she explains in one interview, because her “son always complained about the lack of religious programs in Los Angeles.”[93]

Much of the Amin family appears to operate as one, however. The Iman Foundation is not just supported by the late Nusrat Amin, but has received at least $128,000 from the Amin family’s network of grant-making foundations in the past few years.[94]

The Amin’s Nonprofit Network in the United States

Along with their charities inside Iran, Amin family members manage at least three different 501(c) organizations in the United States, and are peripherally involved with several others.

One such charity is the Maximum Difference Foundation. Controlled and funded by Ali and his wife, in collaboration with his mother, Parvin Kermani, Maximum Difference’s most recent tax return reports charitable disbursements of over $270,000. [95] A second nonprofit, the Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation, is controlled by Mark and Reza, with the bulk of its funding provided by Mark. In 2021, the Foundation handed out $400,000 in charitable grants.[96]

Both of these two foundations fund a third Amin 501(c), the Arasteh Foundation, which is chaired by Parvin Kermani. The Arasteh Foundation also receives hundreds of thousands in contributions directly from Amin family members such as Kermani and Ali.[97]

The Amin family’s foundations have given millions to the University of California and the University of Southern California in recent years.[98] Despite the Amin’s financial and political interests in Iran, such funding is not subject to any foreign reporting requirements imposed by the Department of Education’s Section 117 rules.[99]

Perhaps more importantly, Maximum Difference and the Amin Foundation have also moved enormous amounts of money into the pockets of radical domestic groups. Since 2015, for instance, both foundations have handed over $400,000 to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).[100]

Iranian dissidents and analysts have long accused NIAC of advocating for the Iranian regime. Founded in 2001, the organization and its former head, Trita Parsi, have been repeatedly accused of coordinating with regime officials, and advancing regime narratives in Washington D.C. For example, in 2009, Senator Mark Kirk called NIAC “regime sympathizers” who “came to Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to cut off U.S. funding for democracy programs in Iran.”[101]

Hassan Dai, an expert on Tehran’s presence in the United States, previously told Focus on Western Islamism: “A large number of Iranian political activists and human rights advocates believe that NIAC’s main goal has been the promotion of US policies that helped the regime and harmed the Iranian people’s interests.”[102]

In 2012, Dai beat a defamation suit brought against him by NIAC. As Daniel Pipes reports, during the trial, the “court obliged NIAC to release internal documents revealing the organization’s extensive ties to Tehran, including a lobby effort coordinated with Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations and collaboration with two individuals named in a Congressional report as agents of Iranian intelligence.”[103]

Ultimately, various judges ruled Dai had not been defamatory in referring to NIAC and Parsi as “agents of the Iranian government,” while NIAC, in its legal pursuit of Dai, had been “dilatory, dishonest, and intransigent” and engaged in a “disturbing pattern of delay and intransigence.”[104]

In 2019, Parsi helped establish the Quincy Institute. Analysts, journalists and a former Iranian diplomat have since argued that the establishment of the Quincy Institute was an initiative by NIAC-linked officials to advance a pro-Tehran agenda under a new name.[105]

Among almost half a million of campaign contributions from the family members,[106] federal and state records reveals that Ali, Mark and Reza Amin all also personally help fund NIAC’s political offshoot, NIAC Action PAC.[107] But the Amin family’s involvement with NIAC’s institutions goes beyond financial support. Michael Amin served as a NIAC board member as recently as 2018.[108] In addition, Reza, Fereshteh and Michael Amin have regularly been pictured at NIAC events in Los Angeles.[109]

Reza Amin at a NIAC event

The Amin family’s funding habits appear to suggest Quincy is a continuation of NIAC. In 2019 and 2020, the Amin Foundation appeared to split the $50,000 it had given NIAC in previous years, instead now giving $25,000 each year to both NIAC and Quincy.[110] In total, Quincy has received $75,000 from Mark and Reza Amin’s foundation.

The Amin Foundation has also given thousands to the Ploughshares Fund, a left-leaning grant-making foundation that Hassan Dai writes has “financially supported groups and individuals who advocate for a friendlier policy with Iran and the lifting of economic sanctions.”[111] Ploughshares’ own spending, the Hudson Institute argues, served to promote the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran,[112] and has even funded accused regime apologists such as Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former Iranian diplomat accused of complicity in Iran’s killing of four Iranian dissidents in Germany.[113] Ploughshares has also served as one of NIAC’s biggest funders, and is now a “$50,000-$99,000 donor” to Quincy as well.[114]

Ali, Mark, Michael and Reza Amin have also served as board members or donors to the Farhang Foundation, an Iranian cultural charity in Los Angeles. The Amin Foundation and Maximum Difference have given Farhang almost $1.3 million since 2015.[115] While Farhang’s own activities appear benign for the most part, it has given money to groups such as the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a partner of NIAC[116] that pushed strongly for the Obama Administration’s Iran deal. Iranian regime media welcomed NIAC and PAAIA’s involvement and support.[117] The Amin Foundation has also separately donated a total of $100,000 to PAAIA since 2018.[118]

Islamist-founded charities have also benefited from Maximum Difference support. Between 2014 and 2016, for instance, the foundation handed over $22,000 to KinderUSA, an Islamist-linked charity that, in 2004, the Los Angeles Times noted: “When aiding orphans, the organization [KinderUSA] does not inquire how the father died to avoid charges that it knowingly supports the families of suicide bombers.”[119]

The Amin family also funds hardline conspiracy theorists. Between 2016 and 2019, the Maximum Difference Foundation handed almost $20,000 to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth,[120] an extremist group which works closely with hardline anti-Semitic activists who blame Jews for the 9/11 attacks.[121] Tellingly, the Iranian regime has a long history of pushing 9/11 conspiracy claims through its English-language proxies.[122]

Anti-Israel funding is also found throughout the Amin family’s foundation grants. One hundred and seventy-nine thousand dollars has been handed to Jewish Voice for Peace, which Mosaic Magazine has accused of being an “engine of anti-Semitic propaganda” whose activists can be found “protesting alongside white supremacists.”[123] Some $20,000 was given to the American Friends Service Committee, which hosted a dinner in 2008 with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the guest of honor, and today echoes NIAC and Quincy’s rhetoric on Iran.[124] And $10,000 was given by an Amin family foundation to the WESPAC Foundation, the fiscal sponsor for Students for Justice in Palestine, an aggressively anti-Semitic campus activism organization accused of terror connections.[125]

Tens of thousands more have been given by the Amins to anti-Israel organizations and media outlets, such as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Friends of Sabeel, Mondoweiss, and Electronic Intifada.[126] Maximum Difference has also funded small, niche broadcasters such as Link TV, which has aired programs condemning sanctions against Iran, [127] filmed in partnership with the reportedly pro-Tehran, far-Left group CodePink.[128]

Many of the Amin family’s beneficiaries appear to reflect the same array of ideological partners Tehran has long sought to exploit in the West: far-Left, far-Right, “peace activist” and anti-Israel groups.[129]

Among the more interesting recipients of the Amin family’s philanthropy is the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. The Maximum Difference Foundation handed the group almost $70,000 between 2016 and 2020. The organization is run by Paul Larudee, an Iranian-born activist who appears regularly in Iranian regime media, to express conspiracy theories and tirades against the U.S. and Israel.[130]

Larudee is an open supporter of the designated terrorist organization Hamas, and has met with the terror group’s leaders at their invitation.[131] The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees funds a variety of pro-Iran initiatives, such as tens of thousands of dollars to MintPress News,[132] which an investigation by Buzzfeed in 2013 found had close connections to both Tehran and the Assad regime.[133]

Around the same time Maximum Difference funded Larudee’s Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, the Association in turn handed $20,000 to Max Blumenthal,[134] a pro-Putin journalist and radical activist, accused of holding sympathies for Tehran.[135] The same year Blumenthal took the money, he penned an article and conducted an interview for his radical outlet, Grayzone, titled “’Pistachio Wars’: How the Resnick billionaires’ snack food fortune is fueling the assault on Iran.”[136] Blumenthal and his interviewees charged the Resnicks with supporting war with Iran and serving Israeli interests through their suppression of the Iranian pistachio industry.

An article in Grayzone by radical Putin apologist Max Blumenthal

Relations between the Resnicks, who are the leading pistachio producers in America, and the Amins, had already deteriorated after the Resnicks bought out Ali Akbar Amin many decades ago. In 2012, the Amin family lost a significant lawsuit against the Resnick’s chief pistachio growing business, Paramount Farms (now known as the Wonderful Pistachios).[137]

To the casual observer, it appears the Amin family’s funding of Larudee’s organization ultimately served not just to finance yet another collection of pro-Tehran causes, but also to produce a blistering, conspiratorial attack on its rivals.

Curbing Foreign Influence

The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign entities. In the case of Iran, OFAC requires that any transaction or provision of a service by a U.S. citizen or someone physically present in the United States must be carried out under the prescriptions of a “General License,” which defines certain permitted activities, or a “Specific License,” under which express permission for specific activities must be obtained.

In January 2023, a Virginia man pled guilty to “engaging in business activities on behalf of Iranian entities without first obtaining the required licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). … as a U.S. citizen, he was prohibited from engaging in business with or providing services to Iranian entities without first obtaining a license or permission from OFAC to do so.”[138]

Based on the above evidence, we believe members of the Amin family appear to do all this and more. As we have shown in some detail, Amin family members operate multiple business and charitable ventures inside Iran. To recapitulate, some of their activities uncovered by the Middle East Forum’s investigation include:

  1. Ownership of Amin Padidar, an Iranian company, by multiple U.S-based members of the family. Amin Padidar is jointly owned by the Amins with parent organizations that are closely and overtly involved with the IRGC, a designated terrorist organization.
  2. Financial sponsorship of the Iran Pistachio Association (IPA), an organization closely involved with members of the Iranian regime and the IRGC.
  3. Reports produced by Primex, a U.S. company owned by multiple members of the Amin family, which are then seemingly provided to the Iran Pistachio Association for use in their reports.
  4. Analysis provided by Ali Amin to the Iran Pistachio Association.
  5. Pictures and video seemingly provided by Ali Amin to the Telegram social media channel of the Pistachio Authority of Iran, an entity that claims to operate under the Iranian regime’s Interior Ministry.
  6. Control and management of the Arasteh Charity in Iran, which operates formal partnerships with sanctioned entities.
  7. Collaboration by family members including Parvin Kermani, Nusrat and Fatemeh Amin with regime officials to fund the development of cultural associations and educational institutions.

All these activities appear subject to OFAC’s rules. While OFAC’s general licenses permit some specific charitable work in the form of humanitarian aid and the promotion of human rights and democracy,[139] collaboration with regime institutions and officials to help develop regime-controlled educational institutions is certainly not permitted. The financing and ownership of Iranian companies must without doubt be explicitly approved by OFAC. And the provisions of reports and briefings to regime-linked institutions such as the Iran Pistachio Association and the Pistachio Authority of Iran appears to go far beyond the “personal communications” allowed by OFAC and looks more akin to the provision of services.

It is possible, perhaps, that the Amin family has acquired specific licenses from OFAC for all of these activities. Such licenses are not made publicly available, without a lengthy FOIA application or high-level congressional pressure. But on the off-chance that the Amin family – which has been the target of multiple federal convictions, including the illegal transportation of millions of dollars between Iran and the United States – has not in fact followed the law while engaging with the regime and IRGC-linked entities, then the Middle East Forum urges OFAC to investigate.

Penultimately, it is worth noting that, in the course of this investigation, we uncovered instances of various other Amin family members who have publicly voiced criticism of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It seems not every member of the Amin family is willing to work with this brutal Islamist regime. We have endeavored not to name those explicitly anti-regime family members in this investigative report.

Before publication, we contacted multiple members of the Amin family, requesting a response to our findings. We did not hear back.

Finally, there are additional unexplored areas of investigation worth pursuing, including: the wealthy scholarship programs operated in both the United States and Iran by members of the Amin family; the full extent of the Amin family’s real estate businesses and land; additional foreign entities owned by the Amins in Iran and elsewhere around the world; the links between the Amin family and the Rafsanjani family; and, finally, the historical involvement of Amin family members with regime activists and proxies in the United States.

We leave much of the remaining investigative work to Congress, OFAC and the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit.

The Amin family, its businesses and charitable institutions constitute just one financing network of almost a dozen in the United States that the Middle East Forum is currently investigating for ties to dangerous foreign Islamist regimes. As the tumultuous domestic politics and global dramas of the last decade have taught us, malign influences and monies, imposed or encouraged by violent foreign regimes, should never be ignored.


References

  1. Zoe Thomas, “The US and Iranian battle over the pistachio nut trade,” BBC News, October 26, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-41640066
  2. Michael Rubin, “Don’t Engage the Mullahs,” Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2002, https://www.michaelrubin.org/1233/dont-engage-the-mullahs
  3. “Pistachio Exports Earn Over $360 Million During 11 Months,” Financial Tribune, April 19, 2023, https://financialtribune.com/articles/domestic-economy/117778/pistachio-exports-earn-over-360-million-during-11-months
  4. “Designated” carries a particular meaning in U.S. Treasury Department jargon. According to Treasury: “As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called ‘Specially Designated Nationals’ or ‘SDNs.’ Their assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”
  5. “Treasury Targets Vast Supreme Leader Patronage Network and Iran’s Minister of Intelligence,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 18, 2020, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1185
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  17. “Primex,” Primex Website, http://www.primex.us/PDF/English%20Primex.pdf
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  20. “Nature’s Joy,” Kona Equity, https://www.konaequity.com/company/natures-joy-inc-4397947977/
  21. Homepage, AminAg, https://aminag.com/index.html
  22. Form 990, Arasteh Foundation, 2021, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/273743182/202242219349100529/full
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  24. “1993 Primex Talking Yellow Pages ‘When you need a personal injury attorney’ SoCal LocalTV Commercial,” YouTube, June 1, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKiqFrVDNA4
  25. “About,” Michael Amin LinkedIn Page, https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelamin/
  26. “Mark Amin,” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0024909/
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  28. “Sec Charges Movie Producer And Ring Of Relatives And Business Partners With Insider Trading,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, May 7, 2012, https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2012/lr22360a.htm
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  30. “United States v. Ali Amin,” United States District Court for the Central District of California, CR15-0183, April, 2015; “United States of America v. Fatemeh Amin,” United States District Court, Central District of California, CR15-0182, April 2015
  31. “United States of America vs. Fatemeh Amin,” United States District Court, Central District of California, CR15-00182 DDP, October 23, 2015. https://docdro.id/eTTJijz
  32. Facebook Posts, Imgur, https://imgur.com/a/lnXHX6U
  33. Facebook Posts, Imgur, https://imgur.com/a/lnXHX6U
  34. “Tulsi Gabbard’s Campaign Is Being Boosted by Putin Apologists,” Daily Beast, May 17, 2019, https://www.thedailybeast.com/tulsi-gabbards-campaign-is-being-boosted-by-russophiles
  35. Amin Padidar Co. Ltd. (AminFarms), LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/company/amin-padidar-ltd/?originalSubdomain=ir; “About Us,” Amin Padidar Website, https://aminfarms.com/about-us/
  36. “Amin Padidar Co,” Kouroush Investment Group Website, kouroshgroup.com/companies/شرکت-امین-پدیدار
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  39. “Los Angeles Businessman Pleads Guilty to Operating an Unlicensed Business That Transferred Over $17 Million Between U.S. and Iran,” FBI Los Angeles, May 28, 2015, https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/losangeles/news/press-releases/los-angeles-businessman-pleads-guilty-to-operating-an-unlicensed-business-that-transferred-over-17-million-between-u.s.-and-iran
  40. Allocation of 2,200 housing units to rural beneficiaries in Hormozgan, https://www.rustanews.ir/news/36286/اختصاص-۲۲%DB%B0%DB%B0-واحد-مسکن-به-مددجویان-روستایی-در-هرمزگان ; 1800 needy families of Fars became home owners, https://ayenefars.ir/۱۸%DB%B0%DB%B0-خانواده-نیازمند-فارس-صاحب-خانه-شد/?print=1; Allocation of two thousand and 200 housing units to rural beneficiaries in Hormozgan, https://www.mojnews.com/بخش-استان-ها-62/456437-اختصاص-دو-هزارو-واحد-مسکن-به-مددجویان-روستایی-در-هرمزگان#gsc.tab=0
  41. “Treasury Targets Billion Dollar Foundations Controlled by Iran’s Supreme Leader,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, January 13, 2021, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1234
  42. More than half of the clients in Tehran are female guardians, https://www.isna.ir/news/1400071409298/بیش-از-نیمی-از-مددجویان-تهرانی-زن-سرپرست-هستند
  43. 1800 needy families of Fars became home owners, https://ayenefars.ir/۱۸%DB%B0%DB%B0-خانواده-نیازمند-فارس-صاحب-خانه-شد/?print=1; 2,200 housing units will be built for the beneficiaries of the Hormozgan Relief Committee, https://tilanews.ir/۲۲%DB%B0%DB%B0-واحد-مسکن-برای-مددجویان-کمیته-امد/; The construction of 460 residential units in Hamadan is started, www.tabnakhamadan.ir/fa/news/1052336/کلنگ-احداث-۴۶%DB%B0-واحد-مسکونی-در-همدان-به-زمین-زده-شد
  44. One thousand and 181 poor families covered by the Fars Relief Committee became house owner, shabestan.ir/detail/News/1143779
  45. 380 Residential Unit were Built for Poor Families in Ardebil Province, https://37261625.khabarban.com/
  46. Sina Bank and Golrang Signing of Memorandum of Understanding, https://farasoonews.ir/1401/08/بانک-سینا-به-دنبال-ارزشافزایی-بیشتر/
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  49. “Treasury Targets Vast Supreme Leader Patronage Network and Iran’s Minister of Intelligence,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, November 18, 2020, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1185
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  55. Vinsabt Profiles: https://vinsabt.com/companies/8byeuf5bxaj1/شرکت-کیش-سل-پارس/ , https://vinsabt.com/companies/1d1kq083s36ke/شرکت-توسعه-سرمایه-گذاری-سامان/ , https://vinsabt.com/companies/1dsd9wwktcya9/شرکت-گروه-ارتباطات-ماهواره-ای-سامان/, https://vinsabt.com/companies/4kqpuq046irm/شرکت-فناور-سرمایه-نوتریکا/, https://vinsabt.com/companies/2cxvdgd4fq89/شرکت-مادر-تخصصی-مالی-و-سرمایه-گذاری-سینا/, https://vinsabt.com/companies/1w3u83q2t0l2n/شرکت-توسعه-و-مدیریت-سرمایه-صبا/ , https://www.magiran.com/article/3078702
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  63. “About Sirjan Bonyad Company,” Sirjan Bonyad, https://www.pistachio-tooka.ir/en/
  64. Sponsors, Iran Pistachio Association, https://iranpistachio.org/en/about-us/sponsors
  65. Folad Momtazan Kerman Company, https://vinsabt.com/companies/1hvujd1hi12ep/شرکت-فولاد-ممتازان-کرمان/; Jihad Nasr Kerman, https://j-nasrkerman.com/شرکت-های-زیر-مجموعه/; Jihad Nasr Company, https://j-nasrkerman.com
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  68. https://vinsabt.com/persons/fdp706ssbrcu/خلیل-شالچیلار/; https://vinsabt.com/companies/1mqyjbgcnadhx/موسسه-جامعه-تعلیمات-اسلامی/
  69. The IRGC and bonyads control thousands of institutions across Iran. The trustees of the Jame’e Talimat Islami (http://www.jte.ir/) include Mohsen Rafiqdoost and Mohsen Rezaei, both of whom are former IRGC commanders. Rafighdoost also headed Bonyad Mostazafan for over ten years from 1989 to 1999 (https://irannewswire.org/what-role-does-irgc-play-in-todays-iran/). Mahmoud Lolachian, the father-in-law of Ayatollah Khamenei’s son, serves as the head of Jame’e Talimat Islami. (https://tinyurl.com/ywfues72). Mahmoud Lolachian is also a member of the Board of Directors at both the Ghadir International Foundation (https://vinsabt.com/companies/1o1wp6l13ky08/موسسه-بنیاد-بین-المللی-غدیر/), which operates under Khamenei’s office. He also serves as a member of the prayer staff and the CEO of the Imam-Sadeq Foundation, which operates under Khamenei’s office (http://www.bonyadershad.com/default.aspx?tabid=187; https://vinsabt.com/companies/1ucw0757hs5bl/موسسه-بنیاد-ارشاد-و-رفاه-امام-صادق-ع/). His other responsibilities also include directorships at the IRGC-affiliated Qarz Al Jasneh Tariq al-Quds South (https://vinsabt.com/companies/vf634u8pygke/موسسه-صندوق-قرض-الحسنه-طریق-القدس-جنوب/).
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  78. “زندگی نامه علی امین (امین التجار),” Pistachio Authority of Iran, https://pars-pistachio.ir/178/زندگی-نامه-علی-امین-امین-التجار/ ; “زندگی نامه علی اکبر امین,” Pistachio Authority of Iran, https://pars-pistachio.ir/181/زندگی-نامه-علی-اکبر-امین/
  79. Telegram Post, Photos from Ali Amin, Pistachio Authority of Iran, May 24, 2021, https://t.me/rafsanjanpistachioo/2153; Telegram Post, Photos from Primex, Pistachio Authority of Iran, June 18, 2020, https://t.me/rafsanjanpistachioo/1741
  80. Telegram Post About Ali Akbar Amin, Pistachio Authority of Iran, April 28, 2020, https://t.me/rafsanjanpistachioo/1597; Telegram Post about Ali, Hossein, and Ali Akbar Amin, Pistachio Authority of Iran, October 25, 2019, https://t.me/rafsanjanpistachioo/1271
  81. Telegram Post, Pistachio Authority of Iran, Pistachio Authority of Iran, January 2, 2020, https://t.me/rafsanjanpistachioo/1385
  82. Telegram Post, Denunciation of the United States, Pistachio Authority of Iran, April 9, 2019, https://t.me/rafsanjanpistachioo/738
  83. Amin Arasteh Charity Website, AminArasteh.com, http://aminarasteh.org/
  84. “حمایت بانک سامان از موسسه خیریه‌ آراسته,” Pool Press, February 23, 2019, poolpress.ir/127005/حمایت-بانک-سامان-از-موسسه-خیریه%e2%80%8c-آراس/
  85. “امکان پرداخت زکات فطریه از طریق خودپردازهای بانک سامان,” Khabarban, March 21, 2023, https://37578425.khabarban.com/
  86. Activities of Amin Arasteh, https://aminarasteh.org/مجتمع-آموزشی-امین/
  87. “وزیر بهداشت از خیران حوزه سلامت در رفسنجان تجلیل کرد,” Rourasti, October 6, 2014, https://rourasti.ir/6110/وزیر-بهداشت-از-خیران-حوزه-سلامت-در-رفسن/
  88. “آغاز ساخت مرحله دوم هنرستان 50 ساله رفسنجان,” IRIB News Agency, May 2018, http:// www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/2428132/آغاز-ساخت-مرحله-دوم-هنرستان-50-ساله-رفسنجان
  89. “روحیه خیرخواهانه مرحوم امین در فرزندان ایشان نیز وجود دارد,” Khaneh Kheshti, https://khanehkheshti.com/50036/روحیه-خیرخواهانه-مرحوم-امین-در-فرزندا/
  90. “بازدید مدیر کل فرهنگ وارشاد اسلامی استان از مجتمع فرهنگی و هنری ‘گلستان امین’ رفسنجان,” Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, August 2019, http://kerman.farhang.gov.ir/fa/news/423796/بازدید-مدیر-کل-فرهنگ-وارشاد-اسلامی-استان-از-مجتمع-فرهنگی-و-هنری-گلستان-امین-رفسنجان
  91. “از همسر و فرزند مرحوم امین در رفسنجان تجلیل شد + عکس,” Khaneh Kheshti, November 2014, https://archive.is/DMxyo
  92. “Defendant Fatemeh Amin’s Sentencing Position,” United States of America v. Fatemeh Amin, United States District Court, Central District of California, CR15-00182-DDP, October 19, 2015. https://www.docdroid.net/OiDLWja/fatemeh-amin-sentencing-memorandum-pdf
  93. “بانگ «الله اکبر» از خیابان های لس آنجلس بلند می شود!,” Titre1 News Agency, November 28, 2014, http://titre1.com/fa/news/52439/بانگ-الله-اکبر-از-خیابان-های-لس-آنجلس-بلند-می-شود
  94. Form 990s, Bijan and Soraya Amin Foundation, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956
  95. 2020 Tax Return, Maximum Difference Foundation, ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669/202123199349103122/full
  96. 2021 Tax Return, Declaration Of Trust Of The Bijan Amin And Soraya Amin Foundation, ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956/202233119349102163/full
  97. Schedule B, 2020 Tax Return, Arasteh Foundation, ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/273743182/202132889349100343/IRS990ScheduleB
  98. Tax Returns 2014-2021, Maximum Difference Foundation and the Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation, ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956
  99. “Section 117 Foreign Gift and Contract Reporting,” Federal Student Aid, Department of Education, https://fsapartners.ed.gov/knowledge-center/topics/section-117-foreign-gift-and-contract-reporting
  100. Tax Returns 2014-2021, Maximum Difference Foundation and the Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation, ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956
  101. Alex Shirazi, “The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby,” Daily Beast, April 14, 2017, https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-shady-family-behind-americas-iran-lobby
  102. Susannah Johnston, “Iran and Qatar’s Unofficial Agents in D.C,” Focus on Western Islamism, November 17, 2022, https://islamism.news/2022/11/17/iran-and-qatars-shadowy-proxy-axis-in-d-c/
  103. Daniel Pipes, “Parsi vs Daioleslam: Correcting the Record,” August 19, 2016, https://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2016/08/niac-vs-daioleslam-correcting-the-record
  104. Alex Shirazi, “The Shady Family Behind America’s Iran Lobby,” Daily Beast, April 14, 2017, https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-shady-family-behind-americas-iran-lobby
  105. Susannah Johnston, “Iran and Qatar’s Unofficial Agents in D.C,” Focus on Western Islamism, November 17, 2022, https://islamism.news/2022/11/17/iran-and-qatars-shadowy-proxy-axis-in-d-c/; Armin Rosen, “Washington’s Weirdest Think Tank,” Tablet Magazine, April 27, 2021, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/quincy-trita-parsi-soros-koch-armin-rosen
  106. Amin Family Political Contributions, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZmyXkYc7dF7GPQeAImGjXO89ajbWeNmCl-aF5ybATsM/edit?usp=sharing
  107. NIAC Action PAC Contributors, Open Secrets, 2020, https://www.opensecrets.org/PACs/pacgave2.php?cycle=2020&cmte=C00710764
  108. 2018 Form 990, NIAC, ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/731626026/201913179349307876/full
  109. “Thank You, Los Angeles!,” NIAC, November 7, 2014, https://www.niacouncil.org/news/thank-la/; Facebook Photo, Reza Amin and Siobhan Coley Amin, NIAC, November 5, 2014, https://www.facebook.com/NIACouncil/photos/a.10152886567743938/10152886569378938/; Facebook Photo, Mahmood Michael Amin, NIAC, June 2, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/NIACouncil/photos/a.10153435603878938/10153435604348938
  110. Tax Returns 2014-2021, Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation, ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956
  111. Hassan Dai, “How Trita Parsi and NIAC Used the White House to Advance Iran’s Agenda,” Tablet Magazine, June 28, 2017, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/quincy-trita-parsi-soros-koch-armin-rosen
  112. Lee Smith, “Ploughshares and the Iran Deal Echo Chamber,” The Hudson Institute, May 24, 2016, https://www.hudson.org/national-security-defense/ploughshares-and-the-iran-deal-echo-chamber
  113. Benjamin Weinthal, “Iranian-Americans: Investigate Princeton prof. for crimes against humanity,” Jerusalem Post, January 4, 2020, https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/iranian-americans-investigate-princeton-prof-for-crimes-against-humanity-612951
  114. Armin Rosen, “Washington’s Weirdest Think Tank,” Tablet Magazine, April 27, 2021, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/quincy-trita-parsi-soros-koch-armin-rosen
  115. Form 990s, Bijan and Soraya Amin Foundation, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956; Form 990s, Maximum Difference Foundation, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669
  116. “Iranian American Organizations Urge Immediate Release of Dr. Sirous Asgari to Receive Medical Treatment for COVID-19,” NIAC Action, May 1, 2020, https://www.niacouncil.org/news/iranian-american-organizations-urge-immediate-release-of-dr-sirous-asgari-to-receive-medical-treatment-for-covid-19/
  117. “Iranian-American NGOs urge Congress to pass nuclear deal,” Islamic Republic News Agency, July 31, 2015, https://en.irna.ir/news/81702234/Iranian-American-NGOs-urge-Congress-to-pass-nuclear-deal
  118. Tax Returns 2014-2021, Maximum Difference Foundation and the Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation, ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956
  119. Teresa Watanabe, “U.S. Muslims Temper Ramadan Giving With Caution,” Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2004, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-nov-06-me-beliefs6-story.html
  120. Form 990s, Maximum Difference Foundation, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669
  121. “Richard Gage and 9/11 Conspiracy Theories,” ADL, August 26, 2021, https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounder/richard-gage-and-911-conspiracy-theories
  122. “Antisemitic Conspiracies About 9/11 Endure 20 Years Later,” ADL, September 9, 2021, https://www.adl.org/resources/report/antisemitic-conspiracies-about-911-endure-20-years-later
  123. Miriam Elman, “How Jewish Voice for Peace Went from Fig-Leaf for Anti-Zionists to Major Source of Anti-Semitic Propaganda,” Mosaic Magazine, November 10, 2021, https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2021/11/how-jewish-voice-for-peace-went-from-being-a-fig-leaf-for-anti-zionist-to-being-a-major-source-of-anti-semitic-propaganda/
  124. Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander H. Joffe, “When Did the Quakers Stop Being Friends?,” The Tower, December 2013, https://www.meforum.org/3693/quakers-friends-anti-israel; “16 Groups Warn Biden Against Repeating Trump’s Iran Deal Blunder,” Quincy Institute, June 24, 2022, https://quincyinst.org/press/groups-warn-biden-against-repeating-trumps-iran-deal-blunder
  125. Dan Diker and Jamie Berk, “Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2018, https://jcpa.org/students-justice-palestine-unmasked/
  126. Tax Returns 2014-2021, Maximum Difference Foundation and the Bijan Amin and Soraya Amin Foundation, ProPublica, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/331127669, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/957110956
  127. “Covid-19 and U.S. Sanctions On Iran,” LinkTV, https://www.linktv.org/shows/global-mosaic/special/covid-19-and-us-sanctions-iran
  128. Liat Collins, “Code Pink crosses a redline in Iran,” Jerusalem Post, March 15, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/opinion/my-word-code-pink-crosses-a-redline-in-iran-583519
  129. Andrew Jose, “Iran works on mobilizing ‘extreme left’ in Latin America to expand influence network,” JNS, August 11, 2022, https://www.jns.org/expert-iran-works-on-mobilizing-extreme-left-in-latin-america-to-expand-influence-network/; Hassan Dai, “The Ayatollah’s Americans with Hassan Dai,” Middle East Forum, April 30, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWAF6GslBao
  130. “Activist: US, Israel ‘bullies’ that need nuclear weapons to ‘kill others,” Press TV, November 6, 2021, https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/11/06/670036/American-political-activist-Paul-Larudee-Iran-resolution-nuclear-disarmament-Lawrence-Davidson
  131. Ron Machol, “Anti-Israel organization using AIPAC acronym to trick donors,” Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/international/anti-israel-organization-using-aipac-acronym-to-trick-donors-674347
  132. Form 990, Schedule I, Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, Guidestar, https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2019/205/516/2019-205516191-17783936-9.pdf
  133. Rosie Gray and Jessica Testa, “The Inside Story Of One Website’s Defense Of Assad,” Buzzfeed, October 1, 2013, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rosiegray/the-inside-story-of-one-websites-defense-of-assad
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  135. Mathew Foresta, “Meet the Sneakiest Defenders of Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine,” Daily Beast, April 29, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/meet-the-sneakiest-defenders-of-vladimir-putins-ukraine-invasion-and-chinas-xinjiang-repression; Max Blumenthal, “Iran’s anti-morality police protests: a different view from the ground,” The Grayzone, October 9, 2022, https://thegrayzone.com/2022/10/09/irans-protests-view-ground/
  136. Max Blumenthal, “‘Pistachio Wars’: How the Resnick billionaires’ snack food fortune is fueling the assault on Iran,” Grayzone, December 4, 2018, https://thegrayzone.com/2018/12/04/pistachio-wars-how-the-resnicks-snack-food-fortune-is-fueling-the-assault-on-iran/
  137. Pablo Lopez, “Former fed Judge Oliver Wanger earns victory,” Bakersfield Californian, December 11, 2012, https://www.bakersfield.com/archives/former-fed-judge-oliver-wanger-earns-victory/article_b91b3575-9b7f-580c-be81-fb5be08a38cb.html
  138. “Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Violate Iranian Sanctions,” Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, January 9, 2023, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/virginia-man-pleads-guilty-conspiring-violate-iranian-sanctions
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