Skip to comments.Iran dismisses US claims it gave al-Qaeda safe haven
Posted on 07/18/2004 10:23:30 PM PDT by MadIvan
IRAN admitted yesterday that some al-Qaeda operatives behind the 11 September attacks may have passed through the country from Afghanistan - but dismissed as "fabrications" reports from the United States that Tehran may have facilitated the 2001 attacks. "Its normal that five or six people may have crossed the border within a couple of months without our knowledge ... Our borders are long and its not possible to fully control them," Hamid Reza Asefi, a foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters.
Mr Asefi was responding to an 11 September Commission report - expected on Thursday - that says Iran may have facilitated the 2001 attacks in the United States by providing eight to ten al-Qaeda hijackers with safe passage to and from terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
John McLaughlin, the CIAs acting director, said yesterday it was known for some time that hijackers passed through Iran but he would not implicate the Iranian government.
"We have no evidence that there is some sort of official connection between Iran and 9/11," he said.
Iran insists it has made a significant contribution to the war on terror by arresting agents of al-Qaeda, but the US accuses Tehran of harbouring al-Qaeda fugitives. Tehran also complains that, instead of rewarding Iran, George Bush, the US president, included the country in the list of his "axis of evil" partners together with North Korea and pre-war Iraq. Mr Asefi said that Iran will remain committed to fighting al-Qaeda. "Iran has proved it is against terrorists and extremism," he said.
And he said Iran was not surprised by the allegations. "The more we approach the [US] presidential elections, we will witness more of such news fabrications," he said.
The spokesman said that US was accusing Iran of harbouring al-Qaeda to cover "its defeat in Iraq".
The intelligence minister, Ali Yunesi, said last year that Iran was holding "a large number of small and big-time elements of al-Qaeda". Iran says it has handed over more than 500 suspected al-Qaeda operatives, mostly Saudis, to their home countries.
American counter-terrorism officials have said a handful of senior al-Qaeda operatives who fled to Iran after the war in Afghanistan three years ago may have developed a working relationship with a secretive military unit linked to Irans religious hard-liners. Iran has rejected the charges.
If any of you would like to see pictures of the Iran / Iraq border, let me know and I can email them to you. I have been to the border areas up North a number of times, and yes, one could easily pass without being detected. So there is truth to that part of their statement. I am sure the Mountains on the Iran / Afghan border are just as desolate as they are here.
Regarding their blind eye to such things, I can only assume based off their past history, that the Iranians will support many, regardless of sect. in order to play in the big leagues with the US. It should well be noted that Iranians are more than likely the cheif financiers of the trouble with Sadr City and Al Sadr's Militia.
They also said, "the check's in the mail, hey, you're beautiful, don't change a thing you know what I mean?"
Call me an old cynic, I guess...
You're about my age, so don't be slinging "old" around for at least another 20 years, or I'll have to take corrective action. ;-)
Seriously though, I saw myself on TV today (long story, will ping you to the after-action report) and thought, "who's the guy with all the white in his beard?"
Absolutely on the Al Sadr thing. My point is that whilst AQ will be happy to see anyone killing coalition forces, they would have Al Sadr on the end of a rope in a heartbeat. Don't forget that the worst atrocity to date was the bombing of Karbala (I think) at the Shia Al Shura festival.
The Wahabi despise Shias and regard them as traitors to God
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