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Thomas Kaplan, a billionaire opposed to the Tehran regime

"It is indeed the Iran of tomorrow that we are inviting to Paris", comments Thomas Kaplan on the subject of the visit to France of Iranian opponents, a trip organized by the NGO Justice for Kurds, which the philanthropist co-founded with the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy.

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Thomas Kaplan, a billionaire opposed to the Tehran regime

"It is indeed the Iran of tomorrow that we are inviting to Paris", comments Thomas Kaplan on the subject of the visit to France of Iranian opponents, a trip organized by the NGO Justice for Kurds, which the philanthropist co-founded with the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. "For me, for Justice for Kurds, for my dear friend Bernard-Henri Lévy, but also for all the friends of freedom in the world, this event was very moving", he confides. Four Iranian activists met with the French president on Friday, November 11, a delegation led by exiled journalist Masih Alinejad. She was accompanied by Shima Babaie, a former political prisoner in Iran, and one of the first to be arrested there for following the campaigns of Masih Alinejad; Ladan Boroumand, head of a human rights NGO; and Roya Pirayi, whose mother was killed by authorities at the start of recent protests. His photo, shaved hair held in his hand, next to his mother's grave, had gone around the web, as a strong symbol of the determination of the demonstrators and the violence of the authorities.

Thomas Kaplan, a New York entrepreneur who made his fortune investing in minerals, is best known for his passion for Rembrandt - he owns 250 works by the master of Dutch painting. A member of the powerful American think tank Council on Foreign Relations, he can also boast of experience in the field of geopolitics and geostrategic advice.

In addition to his involvement in Justice for Kurds, a Franco-American initiative for the defense of the Kurdish people, he has been particularly active on the Iranian nuclear issue. Firmly opposed to the idea that the Islamic Republic of Iran could acquire atomic weapons, in 2008 he notably contributed to founding the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) organization, at the origin of numerous media campaigns denouncing the country's leaders and all actors helping them escape international sanctions.

Activities that have not failed to put him in the sights of Tehran. "I have always known that Iran is watching me, but that does not stop me, on the contrary, it strengthens my opposition to this regime," the billionaire explained last August to The Dispatch, an American news site. close to the Republicans. It is also one of the first partners, since its creation in 2018 at the initiative of France, of the Paris Peace Forum, an annual reference conference on issues of global governance, which took place on 11 and 12 November 2022.

Tom Kaplan also the founder and of Panthera, an organization for the protection of big cats and present in 39 countries around the world. In 2018, several members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, an organization dedicated to the protection of nature in Iran, were arrested by the Iranian authorities and imprisoned because of their supposed link with Panthera. One of them, Kavous Seyed-Emami, died while incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

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