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Pompeo condemns Iran for al-Qaeda support

Newly declassified intelligence suggests Iran harbored al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday. “Al-Qaeda has a new home base,” he said. “It is the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Do we know any details? The New York Times reported that Israeli agents shot and killed al-Masri on the streets of Tehran last summer. Pompeo confirmed he died on Aug. 7. Two senior U.S. officials told reporters that Iran had facilitated al-Masri’s stay in Tehran, including sending security guards with him on shopping excursions. Pompeo claimed that ties between al-Qaeda and Iran vastly improved in 2015, when the Obama administration and other global leaders were finalizing the nuclear agreement. Pompeo’s comments appeared to take aim at President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to resume negotiations with Iran to restore the nuclear deal.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s Globe Trot report about Iran’s arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq.

Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Harnik
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Pompeo condemns Iran for al-Qaeda support