Iran Rejects Allegations of Ties With Al-Qaeda

Iran Rejects Allegations of Ties With Al-Qaeda
Iran Rejects Allegations of Ties With Al-Qaeda

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday dismissed a recent claim by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Iran’s relations with the Al-Qaeda militant group, describing his assertions as “warmongering lies”.
“[With] fictitious Iran ‘declassifications’ and AQ [Al Qaeda] claims, Mr. ‘we lie, cheat, steal’ [Pompeo] is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies,” he said on Twitter, referring to Pompeo’s confessions about the time he was in CIA.  
Pompeo alleged on Tuesday that Al-Qaeda, the group blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US, had established new operational headquarters in Iran and Washington had fewer options in dealing with the group since it was “burrowed inside” that country.
“Al-Qaeda has a new home base: It is the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo claimed, adding that from 2015, Iran had allowed Al-Qaeda leaders greater freedom of movement inside Iran.
He also asserted that the Iranian government had provided safe havens as well as logistical support such as ID cards and passports to enable Al-Qaeda activity and said the group had “centralized its leadership” inside Iran.
“No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo's favorite ME [Middle East] destinations; NONE from Iran,” Zarif also said in his tweet.  
Pompeo made the assertion without providing hard evidence while there is even skepticism about the claim within the US intelligence community and among independent analysts. 
“Iran and Al-Qaeda are sort of strategic enemies. To paint Iran and Al-Qaeda as being in a strategic relationship is far more fiction than fact,” analyst Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute think tank said.



Sign of Desperation 

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also reacted to the remarks, stressing that Iran has been a victim of US state terrorism and its affiliated groups for years and has had a clear and defendable record in the fight against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorism. 
“Repetition of allegations … by Pompeo during the last week of the rule of [US President Donald] Trump’s rogue regime is a sign of their desperation and the failure of their maximum pressure against Iran,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman of Iran’s mission to the United Nations, described Pompeo’s comments as “preposterous, false accusations”.
“It is a known fact that Iran is the enemy of extremist terrorist groups and the founder of Al-Qaeda and its followers come from US close allies in the Middle East,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA. 
US officials have accused Iran in the past of providing shelter to some Al-Qaeda figures.
The New York Times reported in November that Al-Qaeda’s Abu Muhammad al-Masri, accused of helping mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, was gunned down by Israeli operatives in Iran. Tehran denied the report, saying there were no Al-Qaeda terrorists on its soil.
Iran has been a target throughout the Trump administration and Pompeo has sought to further ratchet up pressure on Iran in recent weeks with more sanctions and heated rhetoric.
His latest accusation, according to some analysts, may be aimed at sabotaging US President-elect Joe Biden’s expected efforts to restart the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The Trump administration withdrew the US from the deal and reimposed tough economic sanctions to try to bring Iran to the negotiating table. Biden has vowed to rejoin the agreement and try to build upon it.   

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints