Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign criticized Donald Trump for putting “his own business interests ahead of the national interest” in response to revelations that Trump’s real-estate organization had done business with an Iranian bank later linked to terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program.
The campaign was reacting to a report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Center for Public Integrity that the Trump Organization had rented office space in New York from 1998 to 2003 to Bank Melli, a bank that U.S. authorities designated in 1999 as an Iranian government-controlled business. U.S. officials later alleged that the bank had been used to move money to support Iran’s nuclear program and an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that has sponsored terror attacks.
“This report exposes Trump’s hypocrisy on Iran,” Jake Sullivan, a senior policy advisor to the Clinton campaign, said in a written statement. “As with Cuba, he talks a big game but when it comes to making a buck, he’ll deal with anyone. The conflicts of interest presented by Trump’s business and his own desire to boost his bottom line above all else demonstrate clearly why voters should know more about Trump’s business deals and what they mean for how he’ll govern.”
Officials at Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Carl Paladino, Trump’s New York state campaign co-chairman and a prominent real estate developer, wasn’t immediately available, an associate said.
Trump inherited Bank Melli, one of Iran’s largest state-controlled banks, as a tenant when he purchased the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in July 1998.
The controversy over Trump’s five-year juncture as Bank Melli’s landlord isn’t about whether the Trump Organization broke the law in renting space to the Iranian bank. The ICIJ/CPI story noted the possibility that Bank Melli may have obtained a U.S. Treasury Department license allowing it to maintain a skeletal presence in the U.S. despite a U.S. embargo generally forbidding Americans from doing business with the bank and other Iranian entities.