A newly released trove of documents recovered from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound have revealed “secret dealings” between Iran and al-Qaeda.
Nearly half a million files found on the computer seized in the May 2, 2011, US raid on the al-Qaeda founder's hideout in Abbottabad were released by the CIA on Wednesday.
A never-before-seen 19-page document purportedly written by a senior member of al-Qaeda details an arrangement between Iran and members of the group to strike American interests in "Saudi Arabia and the Gulf."
In exchange, Shia Iran offered Sunni militants "money, arms” and “training in Hizbollah camps in Lebanon."
Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others.
The author of the file, described as "well-connected," explains that al-Qaeda's forces violated the terms of the agreement of the deal, however, resulting in several men being detained.
Iranian connections to Hizballah and Palestinian militant groups, such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are well-documented, but its ties to al-Qaeda have until now mostly been shrouded in secrecy.
The timing of the release comes as US President Donald Trump is trying to decertify a bilateral deal agreed with Iran to end its nuclear proliferation programme, which was negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and one which he has described as the “worst deal ever made”.
Mr Trump has been keen to portray Tehran as America’s greatest threat and will no doubt seize upon the documents as proof of the Islamic republic’s support for terrorism in the region.
Speaking at a national security seminar organised by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington DC last month about the release of the documents, Mike Pompeo, CIA director, said al-Qaeda and Iran have always built "secret and open" ties.
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