Pompeo Says Iran Is New Base for Al Qaeda, but Offers Little Proof


WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda’s new servile of operations is in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday, exploiting his last days in office to tie together two of what he called the world’s greatest terrorism intimidations but offering no underlying intelligence as evidence.

His conclusions were quickly palliated, and even contradicted, by some current and former American officials who articulate there was little new intelligence to suggest that Iran was any kind of running headquarters, much less a hub where Al Qaeda’s leaders can direct in effects with the support of the government in Tehran.

Mr. Pompeo, who was President Trump’s beforehand C.I.A. director for a year, called Iran “the new Afghanistan” for Qaeda militants. He traced the ties between Tehran and Qaeda leaders in much starker provisions than what most counterterrorism officials view as a very knotty relationship.

“They are partners in terrorism, partners in hate,” Mr. Pompeo told an audience at the Public Press Club in Washington, where he did not take questions from news-hawks afterward.

“The time is now for America and all free nations to crush the Iran-Al Qaeda axis,” he bid, crediting the Trump administration for making progress on that front.

Mr. Pompeo spoke alternately hither Al Qaeda’s “new home base” and a “new operational headquarters” in Tehran, bewildering counterterrorism officials, who broke there was no evidence for his assertions. Some said his comments appeared to exemplify his own analytic conclusions, rather than those of the United States word community.

Mr. Pompeo cited a “sea change” in the ties between Sunni-led Al Qaeda and Shiite Iran after 2015, when he declared the clerical government in Tehran had allowed the terrorist network’s senior operatives to centralize advantageous their borders.

He said Iran had given travel documents, establishment cards and passports to Qaeda militants and allowed them to move lavishly around the country. He also confirmed for the first time a New York Times dispatch in November that Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who not quite f gabbled by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was assassinated in Tehran in August.

At some underscore before Mr. al-Masri’s death, the C.I.A. concluded that he and another senior Qaeda numero uno in Iran, Saif al-Adl, reorganized Al Qaeda’s global management house and placed a renewed priority on plotting attacks, according to a senior Government Department official who briefed reporters after Mr. Pompeo’s speech. The verified would not give a date or approximate time frame for the C.I.A. assessment, suggesting only that it had happened after 2015 and was sent to the State Responsibility in the past week.

Other American officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to chat about intelligence said the confirmation of the al-Masri assassination was the core of any new or specific gen that Mr. Pompeo revealed on Tuesday.

But it gave the secretary of state yet another principles to criticize Iran — a mainstay of his policies. That prompted swift pushback, embracing from Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, who on Cheep accused Mr. Pompeo of “pathetically ending his disastrous career with numerous warmongering lies.”

Much of Mr. Pompeo’s speech, some American officials cautioned, asserted an inflated rehash of information about the ties between Al Qaeda and Iran that has want been known.

“The relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran is far more ornate than the picture laid out by Secretary of State Pompeo,” said Colin P. Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Bunch, a New York-based security consulting firm.

Mr. Clarke said Mr. Pompeo’s characterizations obfuscated respected details about the differences in ideology, target preferences and other deprecating factors between Iran and Al Qaeda.

Analysts also pointed out that in spite of that as Mr. Pompeo heralded a new dawn for Al Qaeda, in March he had dismissed Al Qaeda’s point in arguing why the United States should support a peace deal with the Taliban that invited for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

“Al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self,” Mr. Pompeo believed then.

It is true that Iran has consistently and unconvincingly denied homes Qaeda officials.

Terrorism experts have suggested that Tehran allocated Qaeda officials to remain in Iran after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as assurance that the group would not conduct operations in the country. American counterterrorism legitimates believe Iran may have allowed them to stay to run operations against the Unified States, a common adversary.

Bahram Ghasemi, an Iranian Foreign The pulpit spokesman at the time, said in 2018 that because of Iran’s hunger, porous border with Afghanistan, some Qaeda members had registered Iran, but they had been detained and returned to their home fatherlands.

Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden and other members of his family were released by Iran in 2011 in exchange for an Iranian diplomat abducted in Pakistan. Unsullied House officials said last year that Hamza bin Laden had been butchered in a counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Mr. al-Masri was one of the few high-ranking members of the classifying to survive the American hunt for the perpetrators of 9/11 and other attacks. When he and other Qaeda directors fled to Iran, they were initially kept under whore-house arrest.

In 2015, Iran announced a deal with Al Qaeda in which it released five of the putting together’s leaders, including Mr. al-Masri, in exchange for an Iranian diplomat who had been abducted in Yemen.

In his jargon, Mr. Pompeo said surviving deputies to Al Qaeda’s spiritual leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, were “subsist a normal life” in Tehran. He said the Iranian government was allowing Qaeda aggressors to communicate with one another, raise funds and carry out other operational galas that were previously done from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He harbingered new sanctions against two Iranian-based Qaeda officials — Muhammad Abbatay, who is also recognized as Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, and Sultan Yusuf Hasan — and three leaders of a Kurdish scion of Al Qaeda who operate on the Iraq-Iran border.

Mr. Pompeo also announced a $7 million punishment for information leading to the arrest of Mr. al-Maghrebi, who is Mr. Zawahri’s son-in-law. State Be subject to officials would not comment on Mr. Zawahri’s whereabouts, including whether he was in Iran.

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