For years, terror-patron rogue regime in Tehran has not only provided shelter to Al Qaeda terrorists, it also has helped the notorious radical Islamic terrorist entity in expanding its existence in Iran thus turning it into a major save haven. According to Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard University educated Iranian-American political scientist: “Al Qaeda has helped Iran against Western forces in Syria and Iraq and has provided the pretext for the IRGC [Islamic Revolution Guard Corps] to increase its influence in Baghdad [Iraq], Damascus [Syria] and Sanaa [Yemen].
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State on January 12 said, Iran has replaced Afghanistan as home base for Al Qaeda terrorist leaders. He confirmed reports that Al-Qaeda second-in-command, Abu Muhammad Al-Masri, who organized the bombings of two US embassies in Africa in 1998 – had been shot dead in Tehran on August 7, 2020.
Al Qaeda leader Al Masri’s presence in Iran was evidence that this notorious terror outfit has a new home base. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Pompeo said: “I would say, Iran is indeed the new Afghanistan, as the key geographic hub for Al-Qaeda, but it’s actually worse”.
“Unlike Afghanistan, when Al-Qaeda was hiding in the mountains, Al-Qaeda today is operating under the hard shell of the Iranian regime’s protection”, Pompeo added.
The US Secretary of State called for international pressure, and described the terrorists’ alliance with Iran as a “massive force for evil all over the world”.
Pompeo said, he was imposing sanctions on Al-Qaeda leaders based in Iran and three leaders of Al Qaeda Kurdish battalion.
He also offered a reward of up to US$7 million for information leading to the location or identification of Iran-based Al Qaeda leader Muhammad Abbatay, also known as Abd Al-Rahman Al-Maghrebi.
Although Al Qaeda’s founder Osama Bin Laden considered the members of this notorious group in Iran to be hostages, in recent years, Iran had allowed Al-Qaeda greater freedom of movement, and the group has centralized leadership in Tehran. In fact, there is a secret alliance between Al-Qaeda and IRGC on the common goals of causing damage to the US, Western nations, Israel and some nations in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
Writing in Arab News, Iranian-American political scientist Dr. Majid Refizadeh said, ties between Al-Qaeda and the regime in Tehran date from the early 1990s. He said” “The Iranian regime then viewed Al-Qaeda through the prism of ideological and political opportunism”.
Dr. Refizadeh said:
Al Qaeda … could help accomplish Iran’s three main revolutionary aims: Anti-Americanism, undermining Saudi Arabia’s interests in the region, and destabilizing the Middle East so that Tehran could exploit the chaos and instability.
The Sunni-Shiite division was never an issue for the Iranian regime as long as the terrorist group could help it accomplish its revolutionary aims.
Iran was the godfather of many terror groups across the region, including Al-Qaeda. It is incumbent on the international community, and particularly the next US administration [Biden administration], to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its funding, arming and empowering of one of the most dangerous groups in the world.