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Iran's Ties to Al Qaeda - What Should the US Do

Aug 3, 2011
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The U.S. Treasury Department issued a statement asserting that the Iranian government has entered into a “secret deal” with Al Qaeda that is allowing it to use Iranian territory to transport money and operatives to Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Reports of Iran’s ties to Al Qaeda are nothing new -- in 2004 the 9/11 Commission traced tactical links between Tehran and individuals connected to the network that became known as Al Qaeda back to the early 1990s,” says Suzanne DiMaggio, Asia Society’s Vice President for Global Policy Programs. “What’s striking about the Treasury statement is that it is the strongest official accusation by the Obama administration of Iranian collusion with Al Qaeda. But the vagueness of the statement makes it impossible to gauge the full extent and implications of the relationship. Most notably, it stops short of asserting that Tehran is providing direct support to Al Qaeda. And, while a number of individuals with Syrian, Qatari and Kuwaiti citizenship are identified by name and sanctioned, no Iranian officials or institutions are mentioned. The statement demonstrates that the Obama administration is not being soft on Iran -- which wins points all around. But the fact is that Iran and the U.S. share a hatred for Al Qaeda and its militant ideology, and both governments are missing opportunities to work together to counter terrorist activity.”

Suzanne, who is based in New York, directs the Asia Society’s Iran Initiative. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or [email protected]