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Iran denies Pompeo's assertion it has ties with al Qaeda

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, Russia on 24 September 2020 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, Russia on 24 September 2020 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday rejected as "warmongering lies" an assertion by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Iran has ties to the Islamist militant group al Qaeda, reports Reuters.

"(With) fictitious Iran 'declassifications' and AQ (al Qaeda) claims, (Pompeo) is pathetically ending his disastrous career with more warmongering lies," Zarif tweeted.

"No one is fooled. All 9/11 terrorists came from @SecPompeo's favourite ME destinations; NONE from Iran," Zarif said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that al Qaeda had established a new home base in Iran and the United States had fewer options in dealing with the group now it was "burrowed inside" that country.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said: "Iran has been a victim of US state terrorism and affiliated groups for years and has had a clear …record in the fight against al Qaeda and Daesh," state media reported.

READ: Trump is 'conspiratorial' to start war with Iran, claims whistle-blower

Iran's state religion is Shia Islam, and the country views itself as a sworn enemy of Sunni Islamist militant groups such as Daesh and al Qaeda. However, US officials have accused it in the past of providing shelter to some al Qaeda figures.

The New York Times reported in November that al Qaeda's Abu Muhammad al-Masri, accused of helping mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, was gunned down by Israeli operatives in Iran. Iran denied the report, saying there were no al Qaeda "terrorists" on its soil.

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