‘Iran owes al Qaeda invaluably,’ ISIS spokesman says

In a response to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri’s latest attempt at reconciliation with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani made a startling admission: Al Qaeda has ordered its fighters and branches to refrain from attacking the Iranian state in order to preserve the terror group’s network in the country. This is what Adnani had to say [the translation of Adnani’s statement was obtained by The Long War Journal]:

The ISIS has kept abiding by the advices and directives of the sheikhs and figures of jihad. This is why the ISIS has not attacked the Rawafid [rejectionists, a term used to describe Shia Muslims] in Iran since its establishment. It has left the Rawafid safe in Iran, held back the outrage of its soldiers, despite its ability, then, to turn Iran into bloodbaths. It has kept its anger all these years and endured accusations of collaboration with its worst enemy, Iran, for refraining from targeting it, leaving the Rawafid there to live in safety, acting upon the orders of al Qaeda to safeguard its interests and supply lines in Iran.

Yes, it [the ISIS] has held back the outrage of its soldiers and its own anger for years to maintain the unity of the mujahideen in opinion and action.

Let history record that Iran owes al Qaeda invaluably.

Toward the end of the lengthy statement, Adnani reiterates that the ISIS “complied” and didn’t attack Iran:

We [the ISIS] complied with your request not to target them outside Iraq, in Iran and elsewhere.

While analysts often cite the tired cliche that Sunni al Qaeda couldn’t possibly cooperate with Shia Iran, we’ve documented al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran for years. And although Adnani didn’t explicitly state that al Qaeda had a deal with Iran “to safeguard its interests and supply lines,” the US government has said it has evidence of such an agreement. The US Treasury Department noted in the July 2011 designation of six al Qaeda operatives who were based in Iran that the Iranian government had a “secret deal with al Qaeda allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory.”

That same designation declared that Iran is “a critical transit point for funding to support al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Other links between Iran and al Qaeda have been also disclosed by the US government. In June 2012, Treasury designated the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security “for its support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, al Qaeda in Iraq, Hezbollah and HAMAS, again exposing the extent of Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism as a matter of Iranian state policy.”

The US government has designated al Qaeda operatives who operate inside Iran such as Mustafa Hamid, the father-in-law of top al Qaeda operative Saif al Adel; Saad bin Laden, one of Osama’s sons; and Yasin al Suri, the head of al Qaeda’s operations in Iran.

And that is just scratching the surface.

So, if you’ve paid attention to al Qaeda’s network in Iran, and Iran’s support of Sunni jihadist groups in the region, Adnani’s statement should come as no surprise. It is merely confirmation of what you already knew.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • billy says:

    This is awesome. Is it possible for you to post the full English translation?

  • ChangeIranNow says:

    Almost from the moment of its birth following the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been one of the foremost sponsors of international terrorism.
    And despite recent efforts at reconciling its nuclear program with the West, Iranian-sponsored terrorist and paramilitary organizations remain major players in a number of Middle Eastern conflicts.
    Iran itself acknowledges supplying weapons to “liberation armies” throughout the Middle East. Additionally, the Iranian government has been proactive in providing training, funding, and political guidance to a variety of militant Islamic groups.
    The only proven and sure path to altering Iran’s behavior has been and should continue to be the punishment of economic sanctions.

  • ritrow says:

    a few weeks ago, Holder tooted convicting Ghaith, an AQ we caught in Turkey, after Iran threw him out, after he spent the time since 9/11 hiding in plain sight in Iran…
    what a sorry execution of our war…
    Ghaith has in his head lots of stuff about AQ in Iran ops that we need in order to defeat these dinks, stop the next attack, and save American lives…
    but instead of getting that info and using it against AQ and Iran, Obama and Holder give the guy a lawyer and a life sentence and we got nothing…
    excuse my venting at the choir

  • C-Low says:

    Then add in that the ISIS has killed, broken up, and possibly done more damage to the FSA in Syria than Bashir, should this be a surprise. Lots of evidence especially credit bill during Iraq said Iran was supporting both the radical Sunni and Shia to make a soup of chaos to drive US out. Syria was the Sunni side front and Iran the Shia all funded through the Iranians.
    Hopefully the common Iraqis will see this. Also all those rich Saudi donors who still pour money into AQ.
    Again reminds who the real enemy in this war is not AQ or Iran it is Radical Islam of both stripe Sunni and Shia. Until we in the west can admit that target it and demand our allies target it we will never win but only just cut the grass. Radical Sunni and Shia preachers should be pushed out of the mainstream, education should be cleansed of it, and here at home their should be no disclaimers in front of its true face. Muslims are good people but the ones corrupted by radicalism just like european nazis or hard line communist must be ostracized.


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