Iran is, indeed, the new Afghanistan – as the key geographic hub for al-Qa’ida – but it’s actually worse.
- Sec. Pompeo delivered these remarks at the National Press Club a week before the end of the Trump administration, in a speech titled the “The Iran-al-Qa’ida Axis”
- Sec. Pompeo describes a relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran that dates back more than three decades. “…while there’s no evidence Iran helped plan or had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, at least eight of the 9/11 hijackers traveled through Iran between October of 2000 and February of 2001.Indeed, in 2011, a federal judge in New York ruled that Iran had provided support for the 9/11 attacks, based on the role it played in furthering al-Qa’ida operatives’ plans.”
- Sec. Pompeo cited a letter written by Osama Bin Laden (gathered in a raid on his compound): “Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication…There is no need to fight with Iran unless you are forced to.”
- Sec. Pompeo describes the Al Qaeda in Iran operating freely: “Tehran has allowed al-Qa’ida to fundraise, to freely communicate with al-Qa’ida members around the world, and to perform many other functions that were previously directed from Afghanistan or Pakistan.”
- Sec. Pompeo made this speech on Tuesday, January 12. The following Friday/Saturday, Iran State Media reported military exercises that included short and long range missiles. One report indicated a missile came close to a U.S. aircraft carrier. This follows a series of provocations by Iran.
Why This Matters: Many have raised questions about the relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran in the past, an unlikely match to some who note the two groups observe different branches of Islam – Al Qaeda is a Sunni affiliated group while Iran practice Shia Islam. Sec. Pompeo, for the first time in detail, mapped out the relationship between the two and their common interest of targeting America. The backdrop to this speech was the killing of a high-profile Al Qaeda member in Iran earlier this year.
Here’s a link to the speech – Both text and video. It’s 15 minutes and worth a listen.
by Jenna Lee,