Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi denied Iran’s alleged connection to al-Qaeda and called 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, Voice of America reports.
Qasimi’s statement followed the recent release by the CIA of documents that were seized at Osama bin Laden’s house in the 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-Qaeda figure detailing the history of a relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda. 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-Qaeda 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-Qaeda and its former leader. This is not the first time Iran has been accused of secret dealings with al-Qaeda. In his remarks about Iran in October.
“Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al-Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,” President Donald Trump said.
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 Nov. 4, the anniversary of U.S. 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. America is the number one enemy of our nation,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.
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-Qaeda docs re: Iran can’t whitewash the role of U.S. allies in 9/11.”
Fars News Agency, a media platform close to the government, said CIA published cherry-picked documents about al-Qaeda and it is a part of a plan to increase the pressure on Iran.
“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,” Tehran based political analyst Sara Masoumi said.
The released documents also contain a letter sent from bin Laden to Khamenei demanding the release of his family members arrested by Iranian security.
The killing of America’s archenemy, Osama bin Laden, by a Navy SEAL team in 2011 was a campaign coup for Barack Obama, who hailed it during his reelection bid as proof that the U.S. had al-Qaeda “on the run.” But the 470,000 files recovered from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound tell a much different story, documenting al-Qaeda’s global strength as well as its relationship with Iran prior to the Obama administration’s nuclear pact with the mullah-led regime.
The editors of the Weekly Standard, noting they don’t use the much-abused word “lie” lightly, declared “the administration of Barack Obama lied repeatedly and lied flagrantly.” The Obama White House released only a few hundred of the more than 470,000 files, falsely characterized them as the entire trove. The Weekly Standard pointed out there were no national security concerns for the vast bulk of the collection.
“The raid wasn’t secret – al-Qaeda knew we had whatever documents had been held in bin Laden’s lair and would adjust accordingly. Why keep them locked up? It’s now clear that bin Laden’s terrorist network “wasn’t the beaten and fugitive force Obama – then seeking reelection – claimed.”
“Second, the documents proved beyond any reasonable doubt that al-Qaeda had an uneasy but mutually beneficial relationship with Iran, and Obama spent much of his second term laboring to convince Americans that the Iranian regime could be trusted,” the Weekly Standard writes.
Regarding Iran, the Obama administration had misleadingly described the relationship of bin Laden, a Sunni Muslim, with Tehran’s Shi’ite Muslim regime as one of “hatred” and “suspicion.” But one of the letters recovered in bin Laden’s lair described Iran as the “main artery” for al-Qaeda. In other files, details of Iran’s support for al-Qaeda led to terrorist designations by the Treasury Department and caused some intelligence analysts to reconsider their assumption that Shi’ite Iran wouldn’t back the Sunni al-Qaeda.