Rogue regime in Iran is clearly in celebration moon as President-election Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have indicated that their administration intends to rejoin the nuclear deal and even lift sanctions against Iran. For the last four years, President Donald Trump and his administration have exerted full pressure on Tehran by withdrawing from the nuclear deal and imposing tougher sanctions, which have already resulted in policymakers in Tehran in significantly weakening of its capabilities and economy with substantial decline in its export of petroleum products.
Very unfortunately, while the Western media in particular were indulged into Trump bashing – it has given no importance to focusing on Iran’s ties with Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic terror outfits. Similarly, scholars and policymakers in the Western capitals as well as some of the Middle Eastern nations also did not highlight this important issue. Media experts say, for the sake of regional peace, it was important for the Middle Eastern nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to give importance on exposing Iran being the safe haven for Al-Qaeda and other terrorist entities.
While policymakers, analysts and the media had miserably failed in exposing Iran’s patronization of Al-Qaeda, some might have unfortunately bought the false narrative – buttressed by the Tehran regime, its agents and some of the pro-Iran media outlets stating Al-Qaeda and Tehran are enemies because the former is Sunni and the latter is Shiite. No one in this case have ever looked into the three-decade-long relationship between Al-Qaeda and the rogue Iranian regime.
It should be mentioned here that the ties between Iran and Al-Qaeda date back to early 1990s, when Iranian regime viewed Al-Qaeda through the prism of ideological and political opportunism. From the perspective of the Iranian leaders, Al-Qaeda was an invaluable non-state terrorist entity that could help accomplish Tehran’s three main revolutionary objectives such as, anti-Americanism, undermining Saudi Arabia’s interests in the region, and destabilize the Middle so that Tehran could exploit the chaos and instability.
For Iran, another important strategic ally is Hamas, which also serves Tehran’s purpose of terrorizing Israel, thus paving path to its “elimination from the global map” as perceived by the regime in Tehran.
The marriage between Iran and Al-Qaeda and Iran and Hamas was never an issue for the Iranian regime as long as these terrorist entities could help Tehran accomplish its dangerous revolutionary agenda.
Back in the early 1990s, when Al-Qaeda was in desperate need of funds — and, more importantly, sophisticated tactical, technical and militia training that would enable it to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks, Iran struck a deal with Al-Qaeda and used its proxy Hezbollah o provide funds, arms, explosives, training and logistic supports. Soon, a meeting took place between Al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden and Hezbollah’s security chief Imad Mughniyah in Sudan to discuss the modus operandi. It may be mentioned here that, Hezbollah had previously carried out attacks against the US forces, such as the 1083 bombing of the Marines barracks outside Beirut, which killed 241 Americans.
Bin Laden advised his followers to revere the Iranian regime and wrote that Iran was the “main artery for funds, personnel and communication” for Al-Qaeda. Three of Iran’s institutions were key to assisting Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its elite Quds Force, and the Ministry of Intelligence.
Although Iran attempted to hide its ties to Al-Qaeda, reports about their relationship began to surface in the mid-1990s.