February 1, 2012
Prior to James Clapper’s intelligence report before the Senate warning of Iranian attacks inside the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations posted an article on its Foreign Affairs website pushing the idea that al-Qaeda and Iran are working together.
Iran’s alleged cooperation with al-Qaeda adds scary dimension to its unsubstantiated nuclear threat.
“Iran appears willing to expand its limited relationship with al Qaeda. Just as with its other surrogate, Hezbollah, the country could turn to al Qaeda to mount a retaliation to any U.S. or Israeli attack,” Seth G. Jones wrote on January 29.
Jones argues that Iran’s Quds Force initiated the relationship with al-Qaeda by importing several hundred of its members. He notes that the U.S. was engaged in talks with Iran and demanded it deport al Qaeda leaders to their countries of origin. Iran allegedly refused to do this.
Iran would later arrest and either imprison or put al-Qaeda member under house arrest. Despite this crack-down, Jones argues, Iran is today an important al-Qaeda hub, even though the purportedly late Anwar al-Awlaki denounced Iran in 2010.