Friday, July 23, 2004

: "Iran next on US hit list?
Chong Zi
2004-07-24 06:23

US President George W. Bush has found a new target for his second term if he is re-elected in November.
It is Iraq's neighbour, Iran.
Tensions between the United States and Iran are building.
On Thursday the bipartisan panel probing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington cleared Iraq of links to the 'operational' masterminds, which was previously used as an excuse to justify war against Baghdad. But the panel's report spotlighted Iran's links to the al-Qaida organization.
The commissioners ruled out any direct involvement by Iraq or its former President Saddam Hussein in the attacks, instead reserving their most accusatory tone for Iran another member of Bush's so-called 'axis of evil.'
The panel said Iranian operatives maintained contacts with al-Qaida for years and may have provided transit for at least eight of the 19 men who crashed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The commission said that 'intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al-Qaida figures' after Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan from Sudan in 1996.
Before the report was released, Iran's alleged links were widely covered by the US media.
Time and Newsweek, in similar reports quoting congressional, commission and government sources, reported that Iran relaxed border controls and provided 'clean' passports for the so-called 'muscle hijackers' to travel to and from bin Laden's camps between October 2000 and February 2001.
Newsweek said the Iranian finding in the commission's report is based largely on a December 2001 memo discovered buried in the files of the US National Security Agency.
The memo, according to Newsweek"


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