For all of Trump’s tough talk about terror, his history shows he’s actually worked with organizations that sponsor it.
In a recent article from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), looking into public records have revealed that Trump had purchased a building in Manhattan that housed a branch of Bank Melli, one of Iran’s largest state controlled banks. Trump played tenant to the bank for five years – 1998 – 2003 – as the same time it was alleged to be sending money to fund terrorism.
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, according to public records reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Center for Public Integrity. The Trump Organization kept the bank on as a tenant for four more years after the U.S. Treasury Department designated Bank Melli in 1999 as being controlled by the Iranian government.
U.S. officials later alleged that Bank Melli had been used to obtain sensitive materials for Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. authorities also alleged that the bank had been used between 2002 and 2006 to funnel money to a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that has sponsored terrorist attacks — a period that overlapped with the time the bank rented office space from Trump.
During this time, Trump was the chair and manager of the Trump Organization described himself as being a very “hands on manager who pays attention to details.” If that is true, then Trump had to know about Bank Melli’s position as one of Iran’s top banks.
Even if he didn’t know about about Iran’s nuclear program, or the bank sponsoring terrorism, doing businesses with a bank owned by Iran should have been a hard no regardless. Iran had a long history of sponsoring terrorism before that time.
In 1994, a suicide bomber killed 85 people at a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, an attack that Argentine prosecutors later charged was coordinated by the Iranian government.
In 1996, a truck bomb killed 19 American servicemen at the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Saudi Arabia. A U.S. court later held that the bombing had been “planned, funded, and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
As Iran supported terror attacks abroad, the U.S. moved to punish the regime economically. President Bill Clinton approved a sweeping embargo in 1995 that banned Americans from conducting trade with Iranian businesses.
We know Trump knew about Iran’s position as our enemy as far back as 97′, when he said we should attack Iran and take some of their oil fields. Saying a year later in an interview with the Guardian “I’d be harsh on Iran. They’ve been beating us psychologically, making us look a bunch of fools. It’d be good for the world to take them on.”
What’s more, Bank Melli was eventually charged with sending millions to terrorists.
In 2007, U.S. authorities charged that Bank Melli had facilitated purchases for Iran’s nuclear program, and that it had been used to send at least $100 million to the Quds Force, the feared special operations unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The Quds Force was designated as a supporter of terrorism by President George W. Bush weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, for providing support to the Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah, groups that the U.S. has labeled as terrorist organizations.
So not only did Trump do businesses with Iranian banks, he housed them on his property for years, despite his attitude and words against them. He was accepting payments from Bank Melli, later pegged by the U.S. Dept of Treasury for having funded terrorism.
All this as he blasts Clinton for working with Iran herself.
The ICIJ notes that the full extent of his dealings with Bank Melli cannot be uncovered until Trump releases his tax returns.
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