(Reuters) – Iran on Saturday criticized a U.S. government move to seize a Manhattan skyscraper owned largely by a foundation that promotes its language and Islamic culture, saying this violated the right to religious freedom in the United States.
According to a court document filed in New York on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to distribute proceeds from the sale of the Fifth Avenue high-rise to families affected by alleged Iranian-aided attacks, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.
The settlement marks the latest turn in a long-running battle over the 36-storey building owned chiefly by Alavi Foundation, a non-profit Persian and Islamic cultural center.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said the decision “lacks legal justification and negates America’s commitment to protecting its citizens’ religious freedom.”
“Confiscation of the properties of an independent charity organization raises doubt about the credibility of U.S. justice,” she was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency…