US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that Iran is the new home of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. While he did not provide any concrete evidence, his statement serves a very different purpose than upholding US national security. Iran’s Foreign Minister has rejected Pompeo’s allegations.
Serious New Accusations Against Iran
In its final days in office, the outgoing Trump administration is increasing pressure on Iran and accusing the country of supporting al-Qaeda.
“Al Qaeda has a new home base: it is the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said during a recent speech in Washington.
According to Pompeo, Tehran has allowed the terrorist organization to use Iran as a base to carry out tasks and attacks that were previously carried out from Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2015.
“Iran is indeed the new Afghanistan for al-Qaeda,” Pompeo said, adding that in fact the situation was worse than in Afghanistan, since Al Qaeda was hiding there in the mountains, while in Iran, it operates under the “protection of the Iranian regime.”
According to Pompeo, Iran has allowed al Qaeda greater freedom of movement, including issuing travel documents.
“Tehran has allowed al Qaeda to raise money, communicate freely with other members around the world,” said Pompeo.
In his speech, Pompeo also confirmed a report in the New York Times that al-Qaeda’s number two was killed in Tehran last year. However, he did not comment on who carried out the attack.
Is There Proof of Pompeo’s Claims?
Pompeo did not provide any evidence that al-Qaeda has its new center in Iran. However, the secretary of state, who is considered a close ally of President Donald Trump, offered up to seven million dollars as a reward for information on Iran’s al-Qaeda leadership.
Pompeo’s statements have also aroused considerable astonishment, since the majority Shiite Iran and the Sunni terror organization are opponents from a religious point of view, despite their mutual hostility to the US. However, in the past few years, there have indeed been repeated but unverifiable reports that al-Qaeda fighters are said to have gone into hiding in Iran.
The US government has long accused the Shiite leadership in Tehran of supporting Shiite militias in the Middle East, such as Lebanon and Iraq. However up until now Washington has not accused Iran so clearly of supporting groups of Sunni extremists.
Iran Reacts by Denying All Allegations
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif immediately dismissed Pompeo’s allegations via Twitter and indirectly accused US ally Saudi Arabia of being the real haven for terrorists.
Pompeo has advocated a tough line against Iran during his tenure. A renewed diplomatic rapprochement between the two states is expected under President-elect Joe Biden, however, the White House is currently trying to make this possibility devastatingly small prior to Biden’s inauguration.
While Pompeo’s words may be accurate, they primarily serve a renewed attempt at provocation at this stage. Iran’s political situation remains highly volatile. Hardliners seek to steer the country away from the West again by winning the upcoming elections in June against reformists. Their goal is to end the nuclear deal.
Pompeo’s words are grist to the hardliners’ mills and, at the same time, an obstacle to Biden’s plan to persuade Iran to give in and let the US back into the nuclear deal.