Joint Statement from FDI and ISICRC:
A broad array of Iranian opposition groups and leaders have called on Iranians to boycott the upcoming May 19 presidential [s]elections, in which candidates previously selected by the regime are allowed to engage in a state-sponsored masquerade of democracy.
In a transparent attempt to bolster the legitimacy of these sham elections, the Iranian regime has announced that it will open 16 polling places across the United States where Iranian citizens can vote.
Today, we asked President Donald J. Trump to shut down these illegal polling places and to take “take all appropriate legal action against those involved in renting, providing, manning or otherwise servicing these facilities.”
In our letter to the President, we noted that 13 CFR 560.512 prohibits Iranian diplomats in the U.S. from carrying out real estate transactions and requires that any financial transactions conducted for official business be run through an account specifically licensed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
“To our knowledge, OFAC has not licensed any Iranian-government controlled account to be used to rent these 16 facilities, making all transactions relating to these facilities illegal,” we wrote.
The laws of the Islamic Republic require that representatives of the Guardians Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supervise overseas balloting locations. But U.S. law requires Iranian diplomats in the United States to apply to the State Department for permits to travel beyond a 25-mile radius from their diplomatic post.
In our letter to Secretary Tillerson, we asked him to confirm that no State Department permits have been issued to Iranian diplomats to travel beyond the 25-mile radius from their diplomatic posts in Washington, DC and New York, in order to man these polling places.
“In the event permits were granted by holdover employees from the previous administration, we would ask that you discipline them appropriately for actions contrary to the interests of the United States and contrary to the policies of this administration,” we wrote.
We appended to our letters a listing of the sixteen addresses identified by the Islamic Republic Interests section. (A 17th polling station is to be set up in the Interests section and would thus appear to be legal).
As we were preparing our letters to the President and to the Secretary of State this morning, the Islamic regime Interests section removed those addresses, and placed “pins” for an additional 32 polling station locations identified in our appendix.
“This practice is consistent with behavior by the Interests Section in 2009, when fear of demonstrations and other action against the balloting by opposition groups in the United States led it to mask specific polling addresses until just hours before they opened,” we wrote.
“We thank you in advance for looking into this matter and feel confidant that millions of Iranians who reject the tyranny of the Islamic regime are looking up to you with hope that you will support their quest for freedom,” the letters concluded.