Wed, 27 Jan 2021

Pompeo Accuses Iran of Becoming Home Base for al-Qaida

Voice of America
13 Jan 2021, 05:35 GMT+10

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iran of becoming the new "home base" for al-Qaida.

"Al-Qaida has a new home base. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said in a speech Tuesday at the National Press Club. "I would say Iran is indeed the new Afghanistan-as the key geographic hub for al-Qaida-but it's actually worse."

During the speech, Pompeo also confirmed a New York Times report that al-Qaida's number two, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed in Tehran last year. Some have speculated Israel carried out the attack, but Pompeo did not confirm that.

Al-Masri is alleged to be the mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

"Al-Masri's presence inside Iran points to the reason that we're here today ... al-Qaida has a new home base: It is the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said.

Pompeo called for more international pressure on Tehran, saying a partnership between Iran and al-Qaida are a "massive force for evil all over the world."

"Unlike in Afghanistan, when al-Qaida was hiding in the mountains, al-Qaida today is operating under the hard shell of the Iranian regime's protection," Pompeo said.

During the speech, Pompeo announced a $7-million reward for information about Muhammad Abbatay, also known as Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, who Pompeo said was believed to be in Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Pompeo's statements "fictitious" in a tweet.

More Beijing News

Access More

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!