Iran Is Harboring Al-Qaeda’s Top Leader

(New York, N.Y.) — As Americans mark 22 years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Al-Qaeda leaders, including the de-facto leader of Al-Qaeda, Saif-al-Adel, are today enjoying safe harbor in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite the unlikely alliance of a Shia-controlled regime and a Sunni terror group, the Islamic Republic has long covertly collaborated with Al-Qaeda, helping its operatives transit money, weapons, and fighters to carry out terror attacks.

To read UANI’s resource, Al-Qaeda and Iran: Alliance Against the US, please click here.

The U.S. formally recognized Iran’s alliance with Al-Qaeda in July 2011, when it accused Iran of entering “a pact that allows the terrorist group to use Iranian soil as a transit point for moving money, arms and fighters to its bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan." 

Adel and others like him remained sheltered by elements of the Iranian security services like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, which equipped Al Qaeda operatives – including Osama bin Laden’s son, Saad bin Laden – to travel to Pakistan and reconvene with other leaders within the terrorist organization.  

In January 2021, then Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo referred back to a letter located by U.S. Navy SEALS during the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the Al-Qaeda founder wrote that “Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication…There is no need to fight with Iran unless you are forced to.”  

After more than twenty years, four presidents, and two dead al-Qaeda leaders, there has been no change in Iran’s behavior, nor are there any indications that it intends to abandon its support for and partnership with terror organizations, including Al-Qaeda. 

To read UANI’s resource, Al-Qaeda and Iran: Alliance Against the US, please click here.