Acting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing in Washington, DC, January 12, 2021
The incumbent US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Iran had become a “new base” for the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. He expressed this in a speech at the American press organization National Press Club, writes the AFP agency.
His Iranian ministry partner Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately condemned the statement. At the same time, Zarif drew attention to US ties with Saudi Arabia.
He said on Twitter that all perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States came from “Pompe’s favorite destinations in the Middle East,” but none from Iran. Fifteen of the 19 attackers came from Saudi Arabia, AFP recalls.
According to Pompeo, the situation in Iran is currently worse than in Afghanistan. “I would say that Iran is the new Afghanistan – it has become the geographical center of al-Qaeda, but in reality it is even worse,” Pompeo said. He supported his statement by saying that while terrorists were hiding in the mountains in Afghanistan, they were under the protection of the Iranian government.
One week before the end of his term, the head of American diplomacy also publicly confirmed for the first time that last year, on August 7, the second highest-ranking al-Qaeda official, known under the pseudonym Abu Muhammad Masri, was killed in Iran. He was to be shot by the Israeli secret service at the request of the USA, which Pompeo did not confirm on Tuesday.
In November, the New York Times wrote that Masri, who had been accused in the United States of plotting to bomb the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, had been killed in a secret operation in Iran in August 2020. Tehran at the time denied the report, saying there were no terrorists on its territory.
Iran is an Islamic republic, the state religion is Shiite Islam, while the terrorist groups al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) profess radical Sunni Islam. In addition, their members are mostly Arabs. In addition, Iran has been involved in the campaign against both groups, the AFP said.
However, several experts claim that Tehran allowed al-Qaeda fighters to stay in its territory, where they were relatively safe from US attacks.
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