US alleges al-Qaeda’s new ‘home base’ is Iran
WASHINGTON (AA): Iran is now al-Qaeda’s “home base,” the US alleged Tuesday despite an often-bloody history between Tehran and the terror group.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran’s leadership of providing “sanctuary to the terror group’s senior leaders as they plan attacks against America and our allies.”
“The Iran-al-Qa’ida axis poses a grave threat to the security of nations and to the American homeland itself, and we are taking action,” he said in a statement. “Today, we are drawing attention to the nature of the Iran-al-Qa’ida relationship and are taking the actions necessary to crush al-Qa’ida and its links to Iran. We urge all nations to do the same – for the good of our nations, and of the free world.”
The top diplomat is an Iran hawk and has been pivotal to the Trump administration’s campaign to ramp up diplomatic and economic pressure on the Islamic Republic. He provided no evidence to back his allegations during a news conference.
The US is offering up to $7 million for information on Abd-al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, who it says is an Iran-based al-Qaeda leader.
In addition, Washington is sanctioning nearly a half-dozen Iran-based individuals who it accuses of having ties to al-Qaeda.
Among those swept up in the new wave of blacklistings are Muhammad Abbatay, who is also known as Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi and Sultan Yusuf Hasan al-‘Arif, individuals the State Department said are al-Qaeda leaders currently residing in Iran.
Three individuals allegedly tied to a group known as the al-Qa’ida Kurdish Battalions — Isma’il Fu’ad Rasul Ahmed, Fuad Ahmad Nuri Ali al-Shakhan, and Niamat Hama Rahim Hama Sharif — have also been designated as global terrorists.
Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday rejected an allegation by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Iran is now al-Qaeda’s “home base.”
“From designating Cuba to fictitious Iran ‘declassifications’ and AQ claims, Mr. ‘we lie, cheat, steal’ is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter.
“No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo’s favorite ME destinations; NONE from Iran.” He was referring to the Middle East.
Pompeo admitted to an audience from Texas A&M University on April 15, 2019 that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) especially trains employees to “lie, cheat and steal.”
“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses,” Pompeo said.
Nearly all of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief rival and a key US ally in the region. Of the 19 terrorists, 15 were from the Kingdom. Two from the United Arab Emirates, while one each came from Lebanon and Egypt.
Trita Parsi, an executive director at the Washington, D.C.-based Quincy Institute think tank, dismissed Pompeo’s “false” charges because it is “recycling the old falsehoods, adding some new ones and misinterpretations and spinning it as news.”
“Ask yourself, if such conclusive evidence of an Iran-AlQaeda alliance really existed, why would he wait till his last week in office to reveal it? Mindful of Pompeo’s 4-year effort to crush Iran, he would’ve revealed this at the outset to justify maximum pressure. He didn’t,” Parsi said on Twitter.
“A more plausible explanation is that Pompeo is changing facts to fit with his obsession w/ conflict w/ Iran. As the chances of conflict are slipping out of his hands courtesy of Trump’s failed coup, Pompeo shifts his focus to prevent Biden from undoing Pompeo’s mess,” he added.
[Photo: US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Photographer: Yasin Ozturk/AA]
By Michael Hernandez