Iran has given a new operational headquarters to al-Qaida, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed, calling Iran the terror organization’s “new home base.”
Pompeo made the announcement during a news conference on Tuesday at the National Press Club. In a statement issued by the State Department following the announcement, Pompeo said that “since 2015, Tehran has allowed al-Qaida figures in the country to freely communicate with other al-Qaida members and perform many functions that were previously directed from Afghanistan and Pakistan, including authorization for attacks, propaganda and fundraising.” He said that Iran has allowed al-Qaida members, including several of the 9/11 hijackers, to cross Iran on the way to Afghanistan for training and operational planning.
“It is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to al-Qaida,” he said. “The Iran-al-Qaida axis poses a grave threat to the security of nations and to the American homeland itself, and we are taking action,” he added.
The Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program is offering a reward for up to $7 million for information leading to the location or identification of Abd-al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, an Iran-based key leader of Al-Qaida, the statement said. The department also is reupping previously announced reward offers on three additional senior al-Qaida leaders, including two operating in Iran: Sayf al-Adel and Yasin al-Suri.
Pompeo also confirmed a New York Times report late last year that said that Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed in Tehran in August by Israeli agents, at the request of the United States.