The recent period has been most revealing regarding Iran’s global connections with radical extremist groups.
Let’s start with al Qaeda. Already in 2013 the washingtonpost quoted US officials describing the complete collection of bin Laden material as “the largest cache of terrorism files ever obtained”. Already then the analysts at West Point, on the basis of that material, concluded that there were ties between Iran and al-Qaeda. They then deduced the ties to be “the unpleasant byproduct of necessity, fueled by mutual distrust and antagonism.’’ With time it became clear that “mistrust” and “antagonism” were not the most precise. In August 2016 the weeklystandard reported that the documents captured reveal “considerable more evidence of Iran’s support for al Qaeda”, noting also that the Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran at least 10 times. Moreover, Adam J. Szubin, the Treasury Department’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, designated three senior al Qaeda officials operating in Iran, one of them regarded as part of a “new generation” of al Qaeda leaders, replenishing the ranks of those who have been killed by the United States and its allies.
Recently, as reported in weeklystandard, the office of the director of national intelligence released an additional 98 items from the Osama Bin Laden compound which necessitate further positive upgrading to the character of the relations. While explaining why threats of attacks in Iran should be avoided, bin Laden writes: “Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel and communication, as well as the matter of hostages”.
This month a US district court found Iran (and Syria) liable for the murder of an infant in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, ordering a penalty of 178 million dollars in damages (see Memorandum-Opinion). As reported in thetower, the reason for the liability of Iran was the fact that the terrorist was an operative of the Hamas, and that significant enough evidence was produced to prove that the Hamas was supported by Iran.
This month we also observed an Afghan governor accusing Iran of supporting the Taliban (see nowruziran), a Houthi commander admitting that Iran funds and arms his radical organization (see nopasdaran2) and photographs released by the Australian government proving that Iran was involved in smuggling arms and “had a hand in gunrunning operations to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula” (see nytimes).
From al-Qaeda to Hamas, Houthi and Taliban, there is one common denominator: Iran. The same month that “concerned parties” call on Trump to ease his approach toward Iran, a mix of independent sources find Iran at the root of assorted extreme ideological terrorist organizations. How is it that these “concerned parties” are not concerned about that? Perhaps they have not understood that for Iran, with or without nuclear arms, the radical cause always justifies the means.