UN agency disavows ex-Iran envoy’s NGO after 'Post' query
Mohammad Jafar Mahallati at TEDxTehran.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
EXCLUSIVE: Oberlin College Prof. Mahallati alleged to be using UN logos in fraud scheme
As part of The Jerusalem Post’s series exposing allegations of covering up crimes against humanity by the former Iranian’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, the Post can reveal the United Nations Global Compact agency wants the ex-envoy to delete its UN logo from his organization’s website.
“We can confirm that, despite the use of our logo on the organization's website, the Friendship for Sustainability Center (FSC) is NOT a participant of the UN Global Compact. We also do NOT have any relationship or affiliation with Mr. Mohammad Jafar Amir Mahallati, who seems to be the director of FSC,” Dan Thomas, the spokesman for United Nations Global Compact, told the Post by email on Monday.
Thomas said that “we are in the process of doing” a request that Mahallati delete the UN Global Compact logo from his website.
UN Global Compact states its mission is “to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world we want.”
Mahallait is a tenured professor of Middle East and North African studies at Oberlin College in Ohio.
Amnesty International asserted in a 2018 report that while serving as the Iranian regime’s ambassador to the UN from 1987-1989, Mahallati denied the existence of the Islamic Republic’s massacre of innocent Iranian political prisoners in 1988. It is believed that Iran’s regime executed at least 5,000 political prisoners during the bloodbath that Amnesty said amounted to ongoing “crimes against humanity.”
According to the website of Mahallati’s FSC, the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation is listed under the rubric of “Collaborations.”
However, the FAS disavowed the connection with Mahallati in an email to the Post. “The Friendship Ambassadors Foundation has no record of any collaboration with Mohammad Jafar Mahallati or the Friendship for Sustainability Center. We were not aware that he or the FSC listed us as a collaborator until we received your message. We are in the process of contacting FSC to inquire about the alleged collaboration and request immediate removal of FAF’s name/logo from the website.”
The UN Global Compact agency and the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany are listed as “Partners” of Mahallati’s FSC.
Katja Barbara Bär, director of communications for Friedrich Schiller University, told the Post that “Mr. Mahallati is not known in our house and there was no partnership at any time.” She added that “The owners of the webpage have been informed, that they are using a fake logo of the UNESCO Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability. With that they want to give the impression of being a partner or part of the UNESCO Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability or UNESCO itself in the overall impression of the website.”
She continued that “This impression is fraudulent and wrong. Neither SDS Group nor any of its parts is or has ever been a partner or part or ‘Iran Regional Action Centre’ of UNESCO Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability. There is no ‘Iran Regional Action Centre’ of UNESCO Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability.”
A second website titled Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) is ostensibly run by Mahallati.
The university spokesman said about Mahallati's organization that “They are called upon to remove the logo immediately, at the latest by 7 April 2021. The same rules will be applied in respect of the misuse of the logo of the University of Jena. After expiry of the set deadline the legal department of the Friedrich Schiller University will initiate the legal proceeding.”
When the Post questioned Mahallati about his alleged fraudulent use of logos from the UN, the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation and the German university, he wrote from his Oberlin email address: “Greetings! I am on sabbatical leave for the spring of 2021. I will respond back whenever I can. Thank you for contacting me.” The Post also sent a press query to Mahallati’s private email.
Oberlin College spokesman Scott Wargo refused to respond to Post media queries. The head of Oberlin’s religious studies department, Corey Barnes declined to comment.
FSC’s website says its aim is to develop “educational foundations for popular understanding of the deep interconnectedness of all global fields of life.”
According to the FSC’s website, Mahallati is listed the sole staff member of the organization. The website was copyrighted in 2016 and names a Tehran address (Unit 202, No.199, Zafar Ave) as its office headquarters. Post emails sent to the website’s address firstname.lastname@example.org bounced back. Zafar avenue is an upscale area of Tehran. The Post completed an online contact form listed on the website but has not received a response.
It is unclear if Mahallati's Tehran-based organization violates US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Mahallati’s website also lists the Australian-based Flat Connections as a collaboration organization on its website. Multiple Post emails to Flat Connections were not returned.Flat Connections “provides managed global collaborative projects for students in K-12 across the world,” according to its website.
The FSC website is hosted by a German server company named Hetzner Online GmbH based in Bavaria.
The Post reported two weeks ago that Columbia University’s Middle East Institute scrubbed Mahallati from its website.
In February, the Post disclosed that Mahallati urged the destruction of Israel and denigrated the Bahai religion while serving as ambassador to the UN.