Pompeo Accuses Iran of Secretly Supporting Islamic Terrorism Ever Since 2015 Nuclear Deal
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of having secret ties with the al-Qaida network and imposed new sanctions on several senior Iranian officials.
Pompeo’s comments come just a week before the Trump administration leaves office and appeared aimed at President-elect Joe Biden’s stated desire to resume negotiations with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.
In a speech to the National Press Club, Pompeo attacked Iran for alleged 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 agents.
Although U.S. officials had previously confirmed the deaths of al-Masri and his daughter, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, Pompeo’s remarks were the first on-the-record comments on them.
“Today, I can confirm publicly to the world for the first time his death on Aug. 7 of last year,” Pompeo said.
He also alleged that Iran had “closely monitored” al-Qaida members before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States and had decided to actively support them following the nuclear agreement.
Pompeo claimed that ties between al-Qaida and Iran vastly improved in 2015, when the Obama administration, along with France, Germany and Britain, were finalizing the nuclear deal.
“A sea change was happening within the Iran-al-Qaida axis,” Pompeo said.
“Iran decided to allow al-Qaida to establish a new operational headquarters, on the condition that al-Qaida operatives inside abide by the regime’s rules governing al-Qaida’s stay inside the country.”
He said that since 2015, Iran has given al-Qaida leaders logistical support and greater freedom of movement inside Iran.
Pompeo asserted that al-Qaida had now based its leadership in Tehran and was continuing to plot attacks on the U.S. and Western targets from the capital city.
Iran has denied all such charges.
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