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Iranian Officials Deny Alleged Ties to al-Qaida

In this picture released by official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, May 10, 2017, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a graduation ceremony of a group of the Revolutionary Guard cadets in Tehran, Iran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi denies Iran’s alleged connection to al-Qaida, and calls the claim an “empty media whirlwind” by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Officials said such claims are a “shameless” attempt to falsify 9/11 records by the CIA.

Qasimi’s statement followed the recent release by the CIA of documents that were seized at Osama bin Laden’s house in Pakistani city of Abbottabad where he was killed in a U.S. raid in 2011. Among the 470,000 files released was a 19-page document written in Arabic by an unidentified al-Qaida figure detailing the history of a relationship between Iran and al-Qaida.

The document says Iran would assist and finance any entity willing to attack U.S. targets anywhere in the world as long as Iran’s interference was kept anonymous.

Al-Qaida members were reportedly offered financial support and training in Hezbollah Shi'ite Militia camps in Lebanon. The released document was seized with various files including letters, videos, audio files and other materials. The CIA said making these documents public aids transparency and improves public understanding of al-Qaida and its former leader.

This is not the first time Iran has been accused of secret dealings with al-Qaida.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. troops at the U.S. Yokota Air Base, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Nov. 5, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. troops at the U.S. Yokota Air Base, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Nov. 5, 2017.

In his remarks about Iran in October, President Donald Trump said: “Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al-Qaida’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.” Trump added that Osama bin Laden's son was one of the high-level terrorists harbored by Iran in the wake of 9/11 attacks.

In a speech on the Nov. 4 anniversary of US embassy seizure of 1981, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country will never accept being bullied by the Americans.

“The American president’s foolish remarks against our people show the depth of America’s hostility towards the entire Iranian nation,” Khamenei said in a televised speech. “America is the number one enemy of our nation.”

The release of these documents stirred a raft of responses by Iranian officials denying the information in the released files.

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted after the release of the documents “A record low for the reach of petrodollars: CIA & FDD fake news w/selective al-Qaida docs re: Iran can’t whitewash role of US allies in 9/11.” Fars News Agency, a media platform close to the government, said CIA published cherry picked documents about al-Qaida and it is a part of a plan to increase the pressure on Iran.

Sara Masoumi a Tehran based political analyst says: “This is a new psychological war by Trump and an attempt to disgrace Iran when Iran is showing its promise to fight terror in the region.” The released documents also contain a letter sent from bin Laden to Khamenei demanding the release of his family members arrested by Iranian security.