ERBIL - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Tehran of having close ties with Al-Qa'ida, arguing that Iran has become a new home base for the militant group.
"Today, I revealed new information about how the Islamic Republic of Iran has given a new operational headquarters to al-Qa’ida, the terrorist network with more American blood on its hands than any other. For al-Qa’ida, Iran is the new home base," Pompeo said in a statement.
"Tehran gives sanctuary to the terror group’s senior leaders as they plan attacks against America and our allies. Indeed, since 2015, Tehran has allowed al-Qa’ida figures in the country to freely communicate with other al-Qa’ida members and perform many functions that were previously directed from Afghanistan and Pakistan, including authorization for attacks, propaganda, and fundraising."
The US top diplomat, in the meantime, announced designations of "Iran-based al-Qa’ida leaders Muhammad Abbatay (also known as Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi), and Sultan Yusuf Hasan al-‘Arif as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224."
Pompeo noted that under the same authority, the United States also designated three leaders of the al-Qa’ida Kurdish Battalions (AQKB), which is "an al-Qa’ida-linked group that operates on the border between Iran and Iraq."
"As a result of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with these individuals and their property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked.."
Washington is also drawing attention to the nature of "Iran-al-Qa'ida relationship", taking actions necessary to crush the militant group and its alleged links to Tehran.