Many have expressed outrage over news that the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI engaged in domestic spying of of five Muslim-American leaders by monitoring their emails. One of those leaders is Rutgers Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi, who has worked to improve relations between the U.S. and Iran. Amirahmadi told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that he believes he was targeted because of his activities regarding interaction between the U.S. and Iran.
Amirahmadi said he’s spent 25 years as a peace activist in addition to his academic work, trying to bring the U.S. and Iran together and create better understanding and dialogue between them. He said he hasn’t always agreed with the official position of the U.S. government on certain matters. “For example I had been against sanctions. I’m against the use of force against any country, including Iran. I’m an antiwar person, I’m a peace person,” he said.
According to Amirahmadi, the U.S. government has an obligation to explain why the agencies spied on him. He said he wishes the NSA had called him directly and asked him questions instead of putting his email addresses on surveillance lists.
What particularly bothered Amirahmadi was the fact that the government agencies were reading his Rutgers University emails. “I have several private emails that they could have put and I would’ve been OK with it,” he said. “But they put also the Rutgers email on the surveillance list. … They have been reading obviously my student emails, my faculty, friends’ emails and so on. And that’s not good because Rutgers is an academic institution, it’s just a proud, great university.”