In a unique move, the federal government has seized several properties, including mosques, in New York City and several other locations that they believe are tied to Iran.
According to the Justice Department, the properties are owned by the Alavi Foundation, a nonprofit group that the government believes is funneling money to Iran, violating sanctions that Washington has set on trade with the country.
According to the Associated Press, the properties being seized include an office tower located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in which Alavi owns a majority stake, the Piaget Building on 52nd Street, and mosques and houses that are owned by the embattled nonprofit.
According to the Justice Department, people are free to continue using the seized properties as only the landlord is being investigated, not the mosques or anyone living in the seized homes.
Also being seized are mosques and structures on Alavi Foundation owned land in Texas, California, and Maryland.
The move came on the same day that President Barack Obama set forth a new set of sanctions against Iran, who has continually refused to stop their nuclear program, and reiterated that American relations with the country have not improved.
Outside of the seizures and the charges against the Alavi Foundation, few details were released. It is still unknown how much of the foundation’s assets the government seeks to seize nor details of the investigation outside of the fact that the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations met with the leaders of the foundation on numerous occasions inside one of the seized Queens properties.