The US has officially accused Iran of having a deal with al-Qaeda that lets militants route supplies, cash, and fighters through Iran to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Treasury Department has sanctioned six al-Qaeda operatives who it suspects run a fundraising network that uses Iran-based operatives to reel in money from wealthy donors who live in the region's oil-rich countries. US officials say Iran, like the terrorist group, wants to push US forces out of the Middle East and Central Asia.
Iranian officials label the allegations “totally baseless,” noting that “Iran itself has been a victim of acts of terrorism in the past which have resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent Iranian lives." But US officials say a Syrian national based in Iran under a years-old deal with Iranian leaders is running the network; Ezedin Abdul Aziz Khalil “moves recruits from across the Middle East into Iran, then on to Pakistan for the benefit of al-Qaeda's senior leaders,” says a statement from the Treasury, which claims that Khalil has all operatives traveling through Iran take $10,000 to al-Qaeda honchos in Pakistan. “By exposing Iran's secret deal,” a Treasury official says, “we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran's unmatched support for terrorism.”