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“Iran still harboring al Qaeda”

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AT-KABUL: The Trump administration alleged that some top al Qaeda figures are hiding in Iran and the regime has been a sanctuary for al Qaeda since the 9/11 attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a major policy speech said that Iran has long sponsored terrorism and refrains from bringing to justice senior Al-Qaeda members living there.

Pompeo urged Tehran to renounce, including an end to its nuclear weapons and missile program. “Iran must end support to the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring Al-Qaeda,” the secretary of state stressed.

He asked the Iranian people, “Is this what you want your country to be known for”, accusing Iran of being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. “The United States says you deserve better,” he said.

In Afghanistan, Iran’s support to the Taliban in the form of weapons and funding led to further violence and hindered peace and stability, Pompeo claimed.

He said, “These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done. The regime has been fighting all over the Middle East for years. After our sanctions come into full force, it will be battling to keep its economy alive.”

The U.S. secretary of state said that the Iranian regime will be forced to make a choice: either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. “It will not have the resources to do both,” Pompeo said.

The U.S. policy change towards Iran comes after President Donald Trump announced withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal. The move has resulted in the revival of sanctions against Iran. The sting of sanctions will grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran.