Sheikh urging Iran attack stayed at Trump hotel: Report
A wealthy Iraqi sheikh who advocated for Washington to take a hardline tact toward the Iranian government spent 26 nights at U.S. President Donald Trump's D.C. hotel, according to a report published Thursday.
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Nahro al-Kasnazan's stay at the Trump International Hotel was the longest recorded in a "VIP arrivals" list obtained by the Washington Post, and is estimated to have cost tens of thousands of dollars. The list cited by the Post includes more than 1,200 visitors.
The hotel is a magnet for foreign dignitaries, Republican cadres and well-established members of the global business elite.
Kasnazan is well-known for his efforts to push for military attacks on the Iranian government.
The hotel said it donated the profits from his stay, the sum of which it did not disclose, to the Treasury Department under a voluntary policy intended to fend off criticism that the president is in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which bars presidents from receiving payments from foreign governments.
But it is unclear why the profits from Kasnazan's stay were donated. He is not a sitting government official and his spokesperson told the Post he personally footed the bill.
Kasnazan, who hails from an influential Sufi family and considers himself a potential next president of Iraq, makes no qualms about his political and economic agendas, saying, "We are looking for opportunities" with the Trump administration.
He recently registered an unspecified number of companies in the U.S. with portfolios ranging from private security to oil field construction, according to the newspaper.
Kasnazan told the Post that while he is not in favor of an all out U.S. invasion he does want "surgical U.S. military strikes" against Iranian military targets.
“You ask why would we want war, but in fact we are not in peace — the violence against Sunnis in Iraq has never stopped,” Kasnazan said. “Any retreat from Bolton’s policy on Iran will lead to a breaking down of America’s reputation in front of the world.”
He was referring to National Security Advisor John Bolton, who like Kasnazan, advocates for a hawkish policy vis-a-vis Iran.
His spokesman told the newspaper Kasnazan soon plans to return to Washington.