LONDON: Iranian TV interview details dealings between Iran and Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11 attacks on the US and reveals Iran agreed not to stamp passports of Al-Qaeda members in transit so they would still be able to enter Saudi Arabia
Mohammed-Javad Larijani, the international affairs assistant in the Iranian judiciary, has revealed his country helped members of Al-Qaeda to pass through its territory.
The interview, which aired on Iranian state TV channel on May 30, has been heavily circulated by anti-regime activists on social media.
In the interview, which was translated by Al-Arabiya, Larijani detailed the Iranian regime’s relations with Al-Qaeda and how Iranian intelligence supervised the passage and relocation of Al-Qaeda members in Iran.
“The lengthy report of the 9/11 commission, which was headed by figures such as Lee Hamilton and others … queries Iran’s role in the issue … a group of reports stated that Al-Qaeda members who wanted to go to Saudi Arabia and other countries such as Afghanistan or others, and who entered Iranian territories by land or by air, asked the Iranian authorities not to stamp their passports (and told them) that if the Saudi government knows they’ve come to Iran, it will prosecute them.”
The Iranian official said: “Our government agreed not to stamp the passports of some of them because they were on transit flights for two hours, and they were resuming their flights without having their passports stamped. However their movements were under the complete supervision of the Iranian intelligence,” he added.
“The Americans took this as evidence of Iran’s cooperation with Al-Qaeda and viewed the passage of an airplane through Iran’s airspace, which had one of the pilots who carried out the attacks and a Hezbollah military leader sitting (next to) him on board, as evidence of direct cooperation with Al-Qaeda through the Lebanese Hezbollah,” he said.
Earlier this year, a US judge found the Iranian government guilty of aiding Al-Qaeda, ruling that Iran must pay $6 billion to families of the victims of 9/11 attacks.
Larijani’s statement is further testimony to link branches of Iran’s government to Al-Qaeda. Documents ceased from Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden hideout in Abbottabad in Pakistan when he was killed in 2011 revealed further details about Al-Qaeda group ties with Iran.
Alarabiya said that a letter sent to bin Laden, and examined by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy in America, confirmed that Iran was willing to provide everything the terror group needed, including money and arms, in exchange for attacking US and Saudi Arabian interests in the Gulf.
Information published by the New York court, after investigating the 9/11 attacks, also concluded that Iran’s embassies in London and Berlin, also helped to faciliatate travel for Al-Qaeda members.
The 113 letters in bin Laden’s handwriting, which were disclosed by the CIA in 2016, included bin Laden’s directions on how to deal with Iran. In one letter he is reported to have described Iran as a key player for the Al-Qaeda movement as he tried to dissuade people from targeting Iranian interests.