WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of getting secret ties with the al-Qaida community and imposed new sanctions on a number of senior Iranian officers.
Pompeo’s feedback come only a week earlier than the Trump administration leaves workplace and appeared geared toward President-elect Joe Biden’s acknowledged need to renew negotiations with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.
In a speech to the Nationwide Press Membership simply, Pompeo attacked Iran for alleged secret ties with al-Qaida, citing newly declassified intelligence suggesting Tehran harbored the group’s No. 2, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, who was killed in August, reportedly by Israeli brokers.
Shiite-ruled Iran and predominantly Sunni al-Qaida usually are not pure allies within the Islamic world and have had a fraught relationship for the reason that Taliban, which harbored bin Laden, took over Afghanistan in 1996. Two years later, Iran accused the Taliban of murdering a number of of it diplomats within the northern metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Though U.S. officers had beforehand confirmed the demise of al-Masri and his daughter, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, Pompeo’s remarks had been the primary on-the-record feedback supporting the declare.
“At the moment, I can affirm publicly to the world for the primary time, his demise on Aug. 7 of final 12 months,” Pompeo mentioned. He additionally alleged that Iran had “intently monitored” al-Qaida members earlier than the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults in america and had stepped up such exercise and had determined to actively help them following the nuclear settlement.
Pompeo claimed that ties between al-Qaida and Iran vastly improved in 2015, when the Obama administration, together with France, Germany and Britain, had been finalizing the nuclear deal. He provided no proof for the declare. Pompeo has been adamantly against the nuclear settlement since he was a member of Congress.
“A sea change was taking place inside the Iran-al-Qaida axis,” Pompeo mentioned. “Iran determined to permit al-Qaida to determine a brand new operational headquarters, on the situation that al-Qaida operatives inside abide by the regime’s guidelines governing al-Qaida’s keep contained in the nation.”
He mentioned that since 2015, Iran has given al-Qaida leaders larger freedom of motion inside Iran and have supplied protected havens and logistical help to al-Qaida. Pompeo asserted that al-Qaida had now primarily based its management in Tehran and was persevering with to plot assaults on the U.S. and Western targets from there.
Iran has denied all such fees.