US imposes sanctions on Iran-based al-Qaeda leaders

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Washington, Jul 29: US has accused Iran of entering a "secret deal" with al-Qaeda to enable the terror group to tap money and recruits from the Persian Gulf for attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US Treasury department has designated six members believe to be al-Qaeda operatives in Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and Pakistan as terrorists and imposed financial sanctions on them.

New York Times quoted Treasury Officers as saying that the Iranian government had entered into an agreement with an off-shoot of al-Qaeda to allow Iranian soil to be used as a transit point for funnelling money and people from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

American officials have identified Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil as a "prominent Iran-based al-Qaeda facilitator" to be operating in Iran under an agreement between al-Qaeda and the government.

"This network serves as the core pipeline through which Al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia, including to Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a key al-Qaeda leader based in Pakistan," the Treasury department said in a statement yesterday.

Rahman, who was also designated in the US list is believed to have recently ascended to the No. 2 position in al-Qaeda, reporting directly to the organisation's new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden.

PTI

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