Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

US accuses Tehran of deal with al-Qaeda

In a significant escalation in the battle of rhetoric against Iran, the United States Treasury Department on Thursday accused Tehran of having forged a "secret deal" with al-Qaeda to allow it to use Iranian territory to transport money and operatives to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The statement marked the first on-the-record accusation by a senior administration official under President Barack Obama that the Islamic Republic has a specific agreement with the terrorist group.

At the same time, one government official stressed, the statement did not assert that Tehran is directly providing support to al-Qaeda. Nor did it impose sanctions on any Iranian official, as it did on the six-member Al-Qaeda network that it alleged is using

Nonetheless, the statement is almost certain to increase pressure from neo-conservatives and other hawks, especially Republicans in the US Congress, to take stronger action against Tehran, according to some observers here who noted that allegations that tied Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda was a critical element in rallying the US public behind war with Iraq eight years ago.

The Treasury statement, which imposed financial sanctions against six alleged al-Qaeda activists living in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Qatar and Kuwait, charged that they constituted a network headed by Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil that "serves as the core pipeline through which al-Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia". (more)