Al Qaeda established new home base in Iran, alleges US

Al Qaeda established new home base in Iran, alleges US”

"Iran is indeed the new the key geographic hub for al-Qaida", Pompeo said.

"The Iranians are wary of returning to the table too quickly, while for Biden, the optics are quite hard to justify giving in to the Islamic Republic and giving in to pressure tactics, particularly in light of the past criticism of the deal".

Pompeo said his presence in Iran was no surprise, and added: "Al-Masri's presence inside Iran points to the reason that we're here has a new home base: it is the Islamic Republic of Iran".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly planning to accuse Iran of links to Al Qaeda in a speech Tuesday, an allegation critics described as a rehashing of a Bush administration lie that served as part of the rationale for the catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Pompeo said Iran has given Al-Qaeda leaders freedom of movement inside Iran, as well as safe havens and logistical support since 2015, when Iran signed a nuclear accord with world powers.

Iranian officials have flatly rejected accusations that their country has harbored or provided support to Al Qaeda leaders.

In his remarks at the National Press Club, Pompeo said that al-Qaeda operatives are allowed to conduct activities in Iran as long as they comply with the rules set by Tehran.

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Pompeo claimed the armed group had established Iran as its "operational headquarters" in 2015, when then US President Barack Obama was working to finalise the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran, a Shiite clerical state, is ideologically opposed both to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, extreme Sunni movements that are predominantly Arab, and has fought on fronts overseas against both.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately denounced the claims on Twitter, accusing Pompeo of "warmongering lies".

"You don't have to be a former Central Intelligence Agency director to see the Iran-Al Qaeda axis as a massive force for evil all over the world", he said. "All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo's favorite ME destinations; NONE from Iran", he said.

Tensions have been ramped up in recent days amid the one-year anniversary of the U.S.' killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Conservative leaders in the Iranian parliament are calling to enrich uranium to 20%, far greater than the permissible level outlined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United Nations -backed nuclear agreement abandoned by President Donald Trump in 2018.

The incoming Biden administration is looking to reenter the JCPOA.

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