Accessibility links

Rumsfeld: al-Qaida Used Iran as Transit Point

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says al-Qaida terrorists have used Iran as a transit point while fleeing Afghanistan.

It is the second straight day that Mr. Rumsfeld has criticized Iran as a supporter of global terrorism.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Norway's visiting defense minister, Mr. Rumsfeld again focused on Iran as a sanctuary for al-Qaida fighters fleeing Afghanistan. He said, "There is no question but that al-Qaida have moved in and found sanctuary in Iran and there is no question but that al-Qaida have moved into Iran and out of Iran to the south and dispersed to some other countries."

Mr. Rumsfeld says there is no evidence al-Qaida is actually operating out of Iran. He also says Iran's border with Afghanistan is porous and Iranian authorities may not be aware of what is happening.

But the U.S. defense secretary says Iran has not been helpful in combating the terrorist problem. "But it certainly would be helpful if they were more cooperative and they have not been," he continued.

Mr. Rumsfeld says Iran has been involved in shipping arms to Palestinian extremists. On Monday, Mr. Rumsfeld criticized Iran, Iraq and Syria for their roles in what he described as support for terrorism, including attacks by suicide bombers in Israel.