- A wealthy Iraqi sheikh who reportedly urged the Trump administration to embrace a hard-line stance against Iran last summer subsequently spent thousands of dollars at the president’s hotel in the nation’s capital.
- Nahro al-Kasnazan wrote of his desire to see a regime change in Iran in letters to national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to The Washington Post.
- A few months after the letters, Kasnazan stayed in Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, which is at the center of a number of lawsuits alleging President Donald Trump violated the Constitution.
- Trump made nearly $US41 million from the hotel in 2018, where suites cost up to $US2,000 per night.
- Kasnazan told The Post he supports Bolton’s aggressive stance toward Iran and desires to see a regime change.
- This revelation comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, Iran’s capital, that have sparked fears of war and led to congressional Democrats raising alarms.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A wealthy Iraqi sheikh named Nahro al-Kasnazan urged the Trump administration in July 2018 to take a more aggressive stance toward Iran and then spent thousands of dollars during an extended stay at the president’s Washington, DC, hotel several months later, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
Kasnazan last summer wrote letters to national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In the letters, which he provided to The Post, he said his goal is “to achieve our mutual interest to weaken the Iranian Mullahs regime and end its hegemony.”
Kasnazan told The Post he has advocated for a US military confrontation with Iran with the ultimate goal of seeing a regime change. But the sheikh’s splurging has renewed questions about whether President Donald Trump’s income from hotels makes him susceptible to foreign influence.
This revelation comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, Iran’s capital, that have sparked fears of war and led to congressional Democrats raising alarms.
‘Any retreat from Bolton’s policy on Iran will lead to a breaking down of America’s reputation’
Trump’s critics have pegged Bolton as the catalyst for the administration’s tough stance toward Tehran and controversial decisions such as withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. Bolton was one of the architects of the Iraq War and has explicitly advocated for a military strike against Iran in the past.
Kasnazan told The Post he would like to see “surgical strikes” against Iranian military and intelligence sites, adding that “any retreat from Bolton’s policy on Iran will lead to a breaking down of America’s reputation in front of the world.”
The Post’s report painted a complicated picture of Kasnazan, the leader of an order of Sufi Muslims who no longer resides in his native country because of legal troubles and has said he was a CIA informant before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Kasnazan, who lives in exile in a “gold-bedecked mansion” in Amman, Jordan, also suggested he’d make a good candidate for president of Iraq as he expressed a desire to do business with the Trump administration.
The CIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.
The Iraqi sheikh stayed at a Trump hotel embroiled in several lawsuits
A few months after he contacted the Trump administration about Iran, Kasnazan stayed at Trump International Hotel in Washington for nearly a month, The Post reported, and spent tens of thousands of dollars.
Kasnazan said his primary reason for staying in Washington was to receive medical treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, but he also had contacts with State Department officials while in the nation’s capital, according to the report.
In explaining why he chose Trump’s hotel, 40 miles from the hospital where he was receiving treatment, Kasnazan told The Post he “thought it would be a good place to stay.”
The White House declined to comment, and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump made nearly $US41 million from this hotel last year, and it has been at the center of several lawsuits alleging the president has violated the foreign-emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.
A lobbying firm with ties to the Saudi government paid $US270,000 to the president’s Washington hotel between October 2016 and March 2017, and these types of payments have drawn criticism and attention.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.