The deep-pocketed Alavi Foundation has aggressively given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Columbia University and Rutgers University for Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs that employ professors sympathetic to the Iranian dictatorship.
"We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation," said Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
In one of the biggest handouts, the controversial charity donated $100,000 to Columbia University after the Ivy League school agreed to host Iranian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the foundation's 2007 tax filings obtained by The Post.
Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi, former head of the school's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and president of the American-Iranian Council, a nonprofit advocacy group, unabashedly has touted Hezbollah and Hamas as legitimate organizations and not terrorists.
Between 2005 and 2007, the Alavi Foundation donated $351,600 to the Rutgers Persian language program, a spokesman for the school acknowledged. The university would not comment further.
Alavi's Web site says its mission is the "promotion of Islamic culture and Persian language."
"This is all about Iran laundering their policies through academe," said Michael Rubin, an Iran expert at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. "And the ivory tower is prostituting itself for money."
But Amirahmadi disagreed. "Grants from Alavi are made to the universities, not to the professors," he told The Post.
Columbia spokesman Robert Hornsby said Alavi's donations rarely topped more than a few thousand dollars and that the $100,000 donation was its largest single gift. Hornsby added that the school was surprised the foundation had direct ties to the Iranian government.
The Alavi foundation declined comment.