According to a report from Reuters, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will give a speech on Tuesday where he is expected to accuse Iran of sheltering al-Qaeda leaders, despite skepticism within Congress and US intelligence agencies that the claims are valid.
Iran hawks have been claiming that Tehran has ties to al-Qaeda for years, but the claims have never been proven. A former US intelligence official told Reuters that Iran was never friendly with al-Qaeda before or after 9/11, and that “any claims of current cooperation should be viewed warily.”
Despite the doubt, Pompeo is expected to make the accusation anyway, as he is determined to ramp up the pressure on Iran as much as possible before Joe Biden’s inauguration. Pompeo tends to hurl accusations at Iran, whether there is evidence or not.
Sources familiar with Pompeo’s speech told Reuters that the secretary of state might share details of an Israeli assassination of an al-Qaeda leader in Iran that supposedly took place in August.
In November, The New York Times reported that Abu Muhammad al-Masri, who the Times said was al-Qaeda’s second in command, was killed in Iran by Israel at the behest of the US. Iran immediately denied the report, and questions arose about whether or not al-Masri could have been in Iran at the time.