Faiq Sidan is president of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council
The Department of Justice (DOJ) was slated to roll out the welcome mat in October for an Iraqi judge who issued an arrest warrant for former President Donald Trump because he ordered the assassination of a global Iranian terrorist responsible for the murders of more than 600 American military personnel, according to the U.S. government.
We exclusively learned last week through a source with first-hand knowledge of his travels that the alleged pro-Iran regime jurist, Faiq Zidan, was set to visit the DOJ.
Yet after a flurry of Fox News Digital press queries to the DOJ within a 24-hour period, the DOJ ostensibly and dramatically backtracked on its invitation to Zidan.
A source familiar with the situation told Fox News on Thursday, “Zidan will not be meeting with any DOJ officials.”
When asked about the visit prior to cancellation, a State Department spokesperson told in a statement on Wednesday, “The Supreme Judicial Council President Faiq Zidan is going to be hosted by the Department of Justice so we defer to the DoJ to discuss their meetings. We engage with a wide range of counterparts in Iraq and we value engaging the Iraqi judiciary. The DOJ meets regularly with foreign judicial leaders.”
According to a separate source familiar with the Zidan’s invitation to the DOJ, the judge told many U.S. officials the DOJ invited him to Washington, D.C. The appearance of working at cross-purposes between the State Department and DOJ suggests there may have been tension over the invitation to Zidan due to his pro-Iranian regime rhetoric and conduct.
In January, Zidan said that Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council filed an arrest warrant for Trump with regard to the targeted killing of Iranian Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of the pro-Iran Kata’ib Hezbollah militia in 2020.
Iranian regime-controlled outlets and other news organizations quoted Zidan, who declared that Trump confessed to his “crime” with respect to the assassination of the “Leaders of Victory.” According to the U.S. government, terrorists loyal to the IRGC’s Soleimani murdered more than 600 American military personnel in the Middle East. The U.S. and European Union designated Soleimani a terrorist.
Congressional letters sent to President Biden in 2023 expressed alarm about Zidan. Just last month, three influential congressmen wrote Biden: “We urge you to make every effort to end the unacceptable treatment of Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) by Iran-aligned elements in Iraq.”
The letter noted, “You are well aware of the role the U.S. played in supporting the Iraqi people as they developed a constitution in 2005 that established the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has served as one of the United States’ most reliable partners in the Middle East, yet is being economically strangled, politically and legally pressured, including reportedly by Faiq Zidan, President of the Supreme Judicial Council in Iraq, and militarily threatened by Iran and Iran-backed elements in Baghdad.”
There are various anglicized spellings of Zidan’s name, including Zaydan. The KRG is widely considered the only free region of Iraq and the most important ally of America in modern Iraq.
The letter was signed by congressional representatives Michael Waltz, R-Florida, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Joe Wilson, R-S.C. Fox News Digital reached out to the State Department about the September letter.
Another letter in February sent by Waltz asked Biden, “Have the State or Treasury Departments has determined whether Faiq Zaydan, the President of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council, meets the criteria for sanctions for gross human rights, acting as a foreign agent, corruption, and material support as defined by the Global Magnitsky Act and E.O. 13818.” The Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. government to sanction foreign officials engaged in severe human rights abuses. Executive Order 13818 freezes the property of individuals who have committed serious human rights violations.
Naz Durakoğlu, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, answered the February letter on behalf of the White House in a letter dated March 22. Durakoğlu, whose office is part of the State Department, wrote, without naming the judge, “The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to vigorously implementing our visa restrictions and sanctions programs, including those related to Iran and those related to corruption. The State Department and Department of the Treasury actively review cases and apply these authorities to designate persons and entities globally. We do not comment on potential future visa restrictions or sanctions.”
A State Department spokesperson told they do not comment on correspondence between congressional representatives and the State Department.
Fox News Digital reached out to the White House and the National Security Council for a comment.
Prior to the Thursday’s disclosure that the DOJ pulled the plug on its meeting with Zidan, a number of Iraq experts weighed in on the planned DOJ meeting with Zidan.
Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser for the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told, “The Justice Department should be focused on protecting Americans targeted by IRGC assassinations and kidnapping plots, not hosting the IRGC’s man in Baghdad who wants to prosecute Americans for killing terrorists. Zidan should not be allowed in America.”
Michael Knights, a fellow of the Washington Institute who has written about Zidan, told Fox News Digital that “Zidan issued one order after another that has disadvantaged opponents of Iranian militias.”
Knights said that after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Soleimani and al-Muhandis “were the architects of moving Zidan up through the judicial system. He was running counter-terrorism courts so that none of Iran’s friends got prosecuted under Iraqi law.”
The lack of modern judicial norms in Iraq was noted by Knights who said Zidan “is a supreme court judge who can hire and fire other judges. Iraq has one supreme court judge. He is as powerful as the prime minister of Iraq. He is unelected, installed by Iran and has no term limit.”
Knights pointed to an example of Zidan’s alleged human rights violations involving the case of an American citizen who was detained last year in Iraq because he was investigating Zidan’s reported misconduct. He said that “Zidan broke numerous Iraqi laws by detaining the U.S. citizen” who was tortured physically and mentally. The American was incarcerated for 11 weeks before Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell helped secure their release.
Knights said the U.S. government should “absolutely” sanction Zidan for human rights abuses. And he noted, “What it [DOJ] should not be doing is inviting him to the country to congratulate him on the great job he is doing.” Such a visit to the DOJ would have only empowered Zidan and his pro-Iran regime activities in Iraq, Knights added.
Entifadh Qanbar, the president of the Kurdish Protection Action Committee (KPAC) in the U.S., told that Zidan is a “dangerous person.” Qanbar, who worked as a civil engineer in Iraq, said, “It is a disaster” that the DOJ invited Zidan because “he has no morals and sold himself to the Iranians. Whatever the Iranians tell him to do, he does. He issued an arrest warrant against Trump.”
Qanbar said that after Iranian-backed militias killed 800 Iraqis in 2019, Zidan did not convict any of the killers and that Iranian militias bragged about it.