Jan. 12 (UPI) — Within the ultimate days of the Trump administration, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday mentioned with out offering concrete proof that the terrorist group al-Qaida has established its new operational headquarters in Iran.

The US’ high diplomat informed reporters in Washington, D.C., that the Sunni terrorist group has relocated its house base to Shiite Iran amid U.S. and ally forces waging warfare in opposition to terrorism in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, assault in the USA.

“You now have the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the house base for al-Qaida,” he mentioned. “They’re companions in terrorism, companions in hate. This axis poses a grave menace to the safety of countries and to the American homeland itself.”

He mentioned Iran has grow to be “the brand new Afghanistan” to operate as a key hub for the terrorist group however is worse as it could actually now cover below the safety of a nation-state.

“America has far much less visibility on al-Qaida’s capabilities and their actions than we did on their actions once they had been in Tora Bora on even within the areas of Pakistan,” he mentioned.

Iran rejected the accusations with International Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calling then “warmongering lies.”

Pompeo confirmed in the course of the press convention that Abu Muhammad al-Masri, al-Qaida’s second-in-command, and the daddy to Maryam, the widow of one among Osama bin Laden’s sons, was killed by Israeli brokers on Aug. 7, which was initially reported on by The New York Occasions.

He mentioned Iran has since 2015 given al-Qaida leaders freedom of motion inside its borders and its Ministry of Intelligence and Safety have supplied them with refuge and assist, equivalent to issuing then journey paperwork, identification playing cards and passports.

In return, al-Qaida operatives should abide by the Tehran regime’s guidelines.

Relations between Washington and Tehran have exponentially soured below the Trump administration, which has utilized a most strain marketing campaign in opposition to Iran since President Donald Trump withdrew the USA from a multi-nation accord in 2018 that aimed to forestall the Center Japanese nation from gaining a nuclear weapon.

Sanctions have been on the coronary heart of this strain marketing campaign, and Pompeo on Tuesday introduced the State Division named two Iran-based al-Qaida leaders — Muhammad Abbatay and Sultan Yusuf Hasan al-Arif — as Specifically Designated World Terrorists.

He additionally introduced sanctions in opposition to three leaders of the al-Qaida-linked group that operates on the Iran-Iraq border.

A $7 million reward was additionally introduced for Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi.

In response to the State Division’s Rewards for Justice web site, al-Maghrebi is an Iran-based al-Qaida chief.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for Iran’s International Ministry, reiterated in a press release that the allegations it was harboring al-Qaida had been false.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, which itself has been a sufferer of the U.S. state terrorism and the teams it supported, as an excellent and defensible observe document in preventing al-Qaida and [Islamic State] terrorism, and believes this web page of the present staged by the unconventional camp within the U.S. won’t contribute to their thirst for, and dependancy to, sanctions or acts to set off tensions,” he mentioned.