Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted during a Tuesday speech that Iran has been actively supporting al-Qaida and serves as a new “home base” for the terrorist group.
“You now have the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the home base for al-Qaida,” Pompeo said in his remarks at the National Press Club. “They are partners in terrorism, partners in hate.” The secretary also stated that the Iranian government was supporting al-Qaida with logistical support and providing refuge to terrorists.
Pompeo did not cite specific U.S. intelligence reporting but his remarks suggest that the relationship between Iran and al-Qaida goes far deeper than what has previously been reported, according to NBC News.
Relations between the Shiite-ruled Iranian government and the Sunni terrorist group have typically been described as complicated and often tense.
There have long been reports of ties between Iran and al-Qaida although the extent of that relationship has typically been unclear. The allegation that Iran maintains ties to the terrorist group was even mentioned by the 9/11 Commission after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks perpetrated by al-Qaida.
The Obama administration also accused Iran of sending the terrorist group money and recruits for its operations in Pakistan, according to The Wall Street Journal. (RELATED: United States Sanctions 17 Metal Companies For Funding Iran’s Nuclear Programs And Terror Networks)
Pompeo acknowledged during his remarks that ties between Iran and al-Qaida are not new but said the relationship has grown substantially since the Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2015.
“Everything changed in 2015 — the same year that the Obama administration and the E3 — France, Germany, and Britain — were finalizing the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” Pompeo said.
Iran has repeatedly denied allegations that the country provides support to al-Qaida, according to Reuters. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced Pompeo’s remarks in a tweet Tuesday.
“No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from [Pompeo’s] favorite [Middle East] destinations; NONE from Iran,” he tweeted.
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.
No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo‘s favorite ME destinations; NONE from Iran.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 12, 2021
15 of the 19 hijackers during the 2001 terrorist attacks were from Saudi Arabia, and former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was himself a Saudi citizen, according to The New York Times.
Pompeo issued a separate statement Tuesday identifying a number of al-Qaida leaders in Iran. He also announced they would be classified as Specially Designated Global Terrorists and offered a $7 million reward for information about Abd-al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, a key al-Qaida leader reportedly operating in Iran.