Report: Pompeo to accuse Iran of ties to Al-Qaeda

Secretary of State planning to use newly declassified US intelligence to publicly accuse Iran of ties to Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

Ben Ariel ,

Flash 90

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to use newly declassified US intelligence on Tuesday to publicly accuse Iran of ties to the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Pompeo is expected to offer details on allegations that Iran has given safe haven to Al-Qaeda leaders and support for the group, the sources said.

It was not immediately clear how much Pompeo intends to reveal in his speech to the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday. He could cite declassified information on the killing of al Qaeda’s suspected second-in-command in Tehran in August, said the sources.

Throughout President Donald Trump’s term, the US has been engaged in a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and has reimposed crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

US President-elect Joe Biden has taken a different approach to the Iran deal than Trump and has expressed a desire to rejoin the deal. He recently told The New York Times that he would do so if Iran returned to compliance with it.

Advisers to Biden believe the Trump administration is trying to make it harder for him to re-engage with Iran and seek to rejoin an international deal on Iran’s nuclear program, according to Reuters.

As for Iran’s connection to Al-Qaeda, Reuters noted that Pompeo has accused Iran of links to Al-Qaeda in the past but has not provided concrete evidence.

His expected remarks on Tuesday follow a New York Times report in November which stated that top Al-Qaeda leader Abu Muhammad al-Masri was eliminated by Israeli operatives in Iran. Iran denied the report, saying there were no Al-Qaeda terrorists on its soil.