by Azita Carlson
On September 11, 2001, more than 3,000 people were killed in the “the largest mass casualty terrorist attack in US history.”
The attack that has come to be known as “9/11” provided a window of opportunity to Iran. The resultant wars in the Middle East left the region open for Tehran to take advantage of, to spread its ideology and sectarianism.
Since the Islamic Revolution, nearly four decades past, Iran has been ruled by a clerical regime that stands accused of meddling in neighboring and distant countries.
In his article for Al-Arabya, Heshmat Alavi highlights Iran’s role in 9/11 attacks, and demands that the senior Iranian regime hierarchy involved in this attack be held accountable.
Before Iraq invaded Iranian territories at the beginning of the 8 year, Iran-Iraq War, Ayatollah Khomeini, described Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a “hypocrite” and a “threat for the Iraqi people.” Khomeini called on the Iraqi people to “place their entire efforts behind destroying this dangerous individual” and the Iraqi army to “flee their forts” and to “rise and destroy this corrupt individual, and appoint another individual in his place. We will support you in this regard.”
Two decades later, Alavi says, “again with Iraq in its crosshairs, Iran began what has been described as a very complicated effort to literally deceive the US intelligence community.” Alavi claims that, “Ahmad Challabi, dubbed as ‘The Manipulator’ by The New Yorker, was Iran’s front man in feeding the US false information regarding Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction to justify Washington’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The war ultimately eliminated the main obstacle before Iran’s hidden occupation of Iraq and full blown meddling across the Middle East.”
“Iran ordered Bashar Assad in Syria and former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to facilitate the escape of thousands of al-Qaeda prisoners.” Alavi alleges, and adds, “This development, parallel to the ruthless crackdown of the two countries’ Sunni communities, led to the rise of ISIS. This entire episode provided Iran the necessary pretext to justify its presence in Iraq and Syria, especially through tens of thousands of proxy forces.”
Washington appointed a bipartisan commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks. It reported strong evidence showing that Iran “facilitated the transit of al-Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.”
Out of the 14 hijackers involved in 9/11, 10 were allowed passage through Iran between October 2000 to February 2001. “Reports indicate Iran has a history of ordering certain instructions to not harass transiting al-Qaeda members,” writes Alavi.
According to a TIME report, “…al-Qaeda may have collaborated with Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, a key American military barracks in Saudi Arabia. Previously, the attack had been attributed only to Hezbollah, with Iranian support.” Additionally, an Al Arabiya feature claims there is evidence that five years later of, “Iran and Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah being involved ‘firsthand’ in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
In early 2016, in lawsuit that gave an in-depth look into nearly 300 cases of Iran’s involvement in funding terrorism and collaborating with terror organizations, including al-Qaeda. Judge George Daniels of New York “condemned Iran for facilitating the execution of the terrorist attacks that hit both New York and Washington.”
The New York Times reported that the court also demanded damages because of Iran’s “direct support for, and sponsorship of, the most deadly act of terrorism in American history.” The suit also contended that, in addition to facilitating the 9/11 hijackers training and travel, Iran and Hezbollah played an important role in the escape of al-Qaeda operatives by providing safe haven inside Iran.
The NYT cited Thomas E. Mellon Jr., a former lawyer for the 9/11 victims’ families, as saying, “… 9/11 depended upon Iranian assistance to Al Qaeda in acquiring clean passports and visas to enter the United States.” In an interview with The Daily Beast, Mellon also said, “I am convinced that our evidence is absolutely real—that Iran was a participant in the preparations for 9/11.”
Still, the Commission stands accused of not properly investigating Iran’s knowledge prior to 9/11. The Daily Beast’s article continues, (The Commission) “failed to delve into the files of the National Security Agency, where the Iran intelligence was waiting to be discovered, until the final stages of the commission's inquiry.”
According to The Washington Times, “Iran also played an important role in supporting al-Qaeda in Iraq, the progenitor of ISIS. As Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan noted in their 2015 book ‘ISIS: Insider the Army of Terror,’ AQI head Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was ‘based in Iran and northern Iraq’ for ‘about a year’ after fleeing Afghanistan following the arrival of US-led coalition forces in Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Middle East political scientist, Dr. Joseph A. Kéchichian, told Al Arabiya, “… my suspicions are that the Iranians were probably much more involved than we are led to believe.”
There are complaints from staffers who worked for the 9/11 commission that much of the remaining NSA’s pre-9/11 terrorism database has still not yet been reviewed. Alavi asks, “Do we not owe more to the 9/11 victims and their families?”