Iran has been coordinating with al-Qaeda to target American interests in the Gulf region since 2007, the English version of the Arabic daily A Sharq al-Awsat reported today.
Speaking under condition of anonymity, the sources said coordination between Iran and the global terrorist organization was mainly taking place through Saudi citizen Saleh Al-Qarawi, a senior member of the organization who is on the Kingdom’s most-wanted lists and is the founder of Al-Qaeda affiliate the Abdullah Al-Azzam Brigades.
The sources contend Qarawi is the main Al-Qaeda figure coordinating operations from inside Iran, where they say he has been moving freely for a number of years and from where he has been recruiting other Saudi citizens for the organization and coordinating their movement into Iran from the Kingdom.
Among the plots disclosed in the report were attempts to kidnap American nationals residing in Saudi Arabia and an attempt to bomb the American embassy in the United Arab Emirates. The report also cited a 2007 attempted attack on an American army base in Jordan. Other plots attributed to Qarawi include “one to bomb a Japanese oil tanker crossing the Strait of Hormuz in 2010 and planned attacks on London’s Heathrow Airport.” None of the reported attempts were successful.
Despite the traditional tensions between Shiite Iran and the Sunni terror organization, Iran is believed to have harbored al-Qaeda fugitives for a while.
One of the key elements reported to be part of an emerging nuclear deal with Iran is that, in exchange for allowing the regime to maintain thousands of centrifuges, Iran would maintain stability in the Middle East.