Update on Child Foundation raid


Niki Tehranchi
by Niki Tehranchi

Sorry for posting twice in a day but this issue is important and I was afraid if I post it in the news section, it would go unnoticed.

First of all, someone on the old news post has posted a new comment saying that the FBI has returned the computers that it had seized from the Portland, Oregon offices of Child Foundation and business is back to normal/  I asked him/her to provide a source for this news and if it becomes available I will post it on this blog.

Additionally, here I am pasting a new item from the same local newspaper that first broke the story as well as provifing the link.  Hopefully an exception to the no lcopy/paste policy of the blogs:  If anyone has further info, please post here.  Thanks!


Mystery Raid

Federal seizure of local charity’s computers puts Iranian community on edge.

BY JAMES PITKIN | 503-243-2122

[July 23rd, 2008] A federal raid on a Middle Eastern charity in Portland last week has alarmed the city’s Iranian-Americans—a community already shaken by strained relations between America and their homeland.

“I’m very worried, because I know that [the charity’s officials] have been really doing a great job in supporting kids that are in need,” says Goudarz Eghtedari, a local Iranian-American who’s a traffic engineer for the city of Vancouver.

An Iranian-American couple formed the charity, Child Foundation, in 1994 to sponsor poor children in developing countries, mainly Iran. It’s since grown to include Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Indonesia and the United States, according to its website and staff, with $1.6 million in revenue in 2006.

The foundation’s Portland headquarters was the scene of the raid on the morning of July 15 when federal agents confiscated all five employees’ computers. The raid at their office on the fifth floor of the Terminal Sales Building at 1220 SW Morrison St. was witnessed by Dave Lister, a small-business owner and former Portland City Council candidate who was in the building visiting another office.

As first reported last week on WWire, Lister saw men in shirts that said “federal agent” hauling computers out of the office.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Portland have declined to comment.

Hossein Salehi, office manager at Child Foundation, told WW he’s not sure which federal agency conducted the raid. Otherwise he declined to comment, as did Timothy Snider, Child Foundation’s attorney with Stoel Rives law firm in Portland.

The agents seized the computers the day before the charity was planning to move to a new office on the same floor of the building, according to two foundation employees who declined to give their names. The move happened as planned, but without the computers.

News of the raid stunned several in the local Iranian-American community, estimated at 5,000 to 10,000 people.

Yet it’s no surprise the feds would suspect an Iranian charity, says Ahmad Mostafavi, host of the local cable show My Iran. The United States and Iran have been locked in a diplomatic standoff since President Bush declared Iran part of an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and North Korea in 2002. More recent blowups have arisen over Iran’s nuclear program and alleged support for the Iraq insurgency.

“If an Iranian organization is collecting money and sending it to Iran, that is going to be of some concern for the United States,” says Mostafavi. “Any time you collect money and take it to other countries, there’s always a chance that it’s not really distributed in ways that they claim.”

But he and others are convinced Child Foundation does valuable work in countries where many charities don’t operate, such as helping victims of the 2003 earthquake in the southern Iranian city of Bam that killed 30,000.

Portland lawyer Neda Soofi has sponsored an Iranian girl for $30 a month through Child Foundation since last year and says she receives letters from the 10-year-old.

“It is not illegal to send charity money to countries such as Iran,” Soofi says. “You never know, with the U.S. government, they probably want to see what’s going on. This is the biggest Iranian charity in town.”

Soofi and Mostafavi say it’s unlikely that Salehi, the Child Foundation manager, is involved with the Iranian government. They know Salehi as a respected performer and composer who teaches local kids traditional Iranian music. Mostafavi says Salehi was a helicopter pilot for the Iranian military who likely burned his bridges with the regime when he left for America.

“He is a man with dignity, and he wouldn’t really get into something shady,” Mostafavi says. “It’s very unlikely that there is any cooperation between him and the Iranian government. Obviously he didn’t agree with what they were doing, otherwise he would have stayed.”

Child Foundation was founded by Mehrdad Yasrebi and Saideh Sharif-Kazemi, an Iranian-American husband and wife living in Clackamas. Yasrebi, 50, did not return a phone call seeking comment. According to the charity’s website, he’s a research scientist at Precision Castparts Corp. in its Milwaukie office; she works as a rehabilitation counselor in Portland.

Besides Yasrebi and Sharif-Kazemi, the charity’s five-member board of directors also includes an engineering professor at Pennsylvania State University, an engineer at ETA Inc. in Troy, Mich., and a Boeing consultant in Seattle, according to the website. All have Iranian names.

In an odd footnote to the raid on Oregon’s most prominent Iranian charity, the FBI is considering setting up a booth to recruit Farsi speakers at the ninth annual Iranian Festival in downtown Portland’s South Park Blocks on Aug. 2.

“The FBI nationwide is seeking Farsi linguists,” says Beth Anne Steele, spokeswoman for the Portland FBI office. “It’s not a secret that we’re recruiting linguists.”










FACT: According to the Child Foundation website, the charity distributed toys, shoes and clothes to more than 1,200 Turkish children after an earthquake in 2000 and delivered 240 wheelchairs to schoolkids in Istanbul in 2003.


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Child Foundation

by Anonymous on

Is there proof to what is mentioned in previous notes of this blog and can anyone explain what OFAC is? Which link has the name of organizations listed and what can we do?


To Mansham and Mehmoazzami

by Come On People (not verified) on

I hope you realize how important an FBI investigation of any entity is. This organization's every activity is open to an investigation which must have been serious enough to require a "raid."

While the principals at the Child Foundation must be quite naturally working to answer the questions raised in the investigation, it would be only decent of the rest of us to wait to see what the results of those investigations are.

Perhaps you are not aware of what you are saying here, but with a few strokes of the keyboard and as another anonymous user, without any legal responsibility whatsoever, you are accusing an organization which you claim to have been supporting of embezzlement, false reporting, and engagement in fraudulent and illegal activities.

I have never supported the Child Foundation and in fact this is the first time I am hearing about them through all this noise. However, I have far better judgement about what it means to run a not-for-profit organization, and what it means to get "raided" by the FBI than the two of you, self-proclaimed "supporters" of the organization.

Be patient, be prudent, and be wise in dishing out rumors, accusations, and libelous statements. Wait for the investigation report. No amount of venom or gossip on your part can be as serious as what the FBI have done with a seemingly reputable organization's reputation, but this doesn't excuse you to run your mouths without responsibility.


Child Foundation has no OFAC license

by mehmoaazami (not verified) on


I looked this up and it is true. When I called Child Foundation 949-754-0611 they did confirm that each child has three to five sponsors. Please call them and find out yourself. They also said that they send food to Iranian kids. My child always gets $20 cash, so does my brother's sponsored kids in Ardabil, Iran, Not food. They only get $20 not $60 or $100.

Also from Child Foundation web site FAQ note the statement below. //www.childfoundation.org/AboutUs/FAQ/tabid/7...

16. Q. How does Child Foundation send my contribution to my sponsored child?


How a child receives donations and gifts largely depends on what country he or she is living in. Child Foundation is committed to following the rules and regulations mandated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC ) of the U.S. Department of Treasury as well as the rules and regulations of the countries receiving our aid. Currently, sanctions in Iran prevent us from sending anything other than food, clothing, medical assistance and educational materials to the children supported through our programs. By law, Child Foundation is not permitted to send cash or any other goods other than the humanitarian items mentioned above. In other countries where US sanctions do not apply, it is possible to purchase other goods and services for the children we serve.

I hope Child Foundation can clear its name. Sending money to Iran without a license is illegal I wish the best for them and the innocent children.


Niki Tehranchi

Dear various readers

by Niki Tehranchi on

I appreciate the interest you are taking about this issue.  But please take the time to provide either links or some sort of evidence for your information.  I already had a bad experience once regarding this issue.  Also, please note, I am neither a private investigator nor in any way related to the Child Foundation so I cannot exactly act as a middle person between the foundation and the public or give out anymore information than what is available to all of you.  I was emailed the news with the link about the original raid by a friend (also someone who is not an official member of child foundation) and posted it on this site.  I also attended a couple of fundraiser a few years back, donated some money, wrote an article about the foundation for this site because I was impressed with the evidence of helping the children in Iran that I saw from their video and photo presentation, as well as the fact they are being endorsed by prominent members of our community and they make their financial information quite transparent to the general public.  In cases like this, there are always a lot of rumors coming out of the woodwork but I would be weary of taking comments posted by anonymous readers and without any hard evidence as fact and I urge everyone to try to keep the "innocent until proven guilty" motto until the investigation is completed and we have a statement from feds and/or the foundation.  I am not familiar with the law regarding licensing nor did I find aby info about this on child foundation website.  I also have no idea about having multiple sponsors for children nor did I find any info to this effect on the site either.


OFAC and Child Foundation

by Mansham (not verified) on

Dear Niki:

I went on the OFAC web site and found out that Child Foundation was not approved to have a lisence to send money to Iran. Please go on their site and see that for yourself. I also see in the other blog of Iranian.com that Child Foundation collected $60 and gave only $20 to the kid in Iran. Can you verify these for us? If the above is true It is very sad that Child Foundation took advantage of the Iranians in the US. I know my child got the $20 but I want to know what they did with the other $40. I also want to know how they send 1.6 million dollars or even $1000 of that to Iran. This had never occured to me but please update us. Thank you.


Official CF Press Release

by praoofi on

For Immediate Release

PRESS RELEASE July 23, 2008Child Foundation is a charity headquartered in Portland, Oregon, that helps children living in poverty to remain in school. The children sponsored through its programs are high achievers, and many of the children it assists are orphans or children living in emergency situations in the United States, Iran, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. By enhancing the quality of life for children in need, as well as their respective families, Child Foundation actively helps them gain access to education. During its fiscal year 2007, Child Foundation raised approximately $1.6 million in donations for sponsorship of about 3,500 children.On Tuesday, July 15, 2008, Child Foundation became aware of a U.S. government investigation whose focus includes Child Foundation's operations. Child Foundation has strived to comply with U.S. laws that limit aid to Iran but permit food and medicine to be sent for humanitarian purposes.  Child Foundation believes that all of its current programs are in compliance with U.S. law.  It is cooperating completely with government investigators.  Child Foundation presently continues to be fully operational and active.


Thank you for the update........

by Nadias on

solh va doosti/paz a vosotros/paix et amitié





Ms. Niki, Please keep us informed.

by Concerned (not verified) on

As a concerned citizen I would like to know more about this case please keep up informed. We need to know through ACLU, NIAC or other civil rights organizations why this has happened. We need to know who is behind this raid. A few years back a police chief was indicted for breaking into an organiztions office because of that organizations oppostition to Israeli lobbie (AIPAC). He was convicted of breaking into that office. We need to know who is behind this one.


Thank you Niki

by Monda on

for sharing the update. This was important to me.