Iran vows to expel any al-Qa'ida fighters

Iran denied US claims that it harboured al-Qa'ida members, but vowed yesterday to expel any members of the terror network that it might find.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, said on Tuesday that there was "no question" that al-Qa'ida members were in Iran. He added that there was speculation about their involvement in last week's bombings in Saudi Arabia.

Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian government, said Mr Rumsfeld's accusations were "without foundation". Iran had expelled about 500 suspected al-Qa'ida terrorists in the past year, he said. "The only al- Qa'ida members that we know of are the ones that have been expelled. If any exist in Iran they have entered illegally and we have no information about them.

"Any Iranian citizen or foreign security organisation which has information about the presence of people suspected of having links to al-Qa'ida in Iran should provide us with that information and we will take action and expel them."

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said al-Qa'ida figures in Iran include Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian indicted for conspiracy in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in east Africa. One official said Saad bin Laden, the son of al-Qa'ida's fugitive leader, Osama bin Laden, may also be in Iran.

Iranian officials have strenuously denied US charges of cooperating with al-Qa'ida, saying Iran strongly opposed the network and its former Taliban hosts in Afghanistan long before the 11 September attacks.

Iran's government condemned last week's bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Those attacks are being investigated for suspected links to al-Qa'ida. But diplomats in Tehran say rogue elements in Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards may have offered shelter to fleeing al-Qa'ida members without the knowledge of Iran's reformist government. Mr Ramazanzadeh said several members of Iran's security forces had been killed in fighting with militants in the country, and about 500 people suspected of having ties with al-Qa'ida had been captured and expelled in the past year. "Some elements suspected of having ties with al-Qa'ida have entered Iran through Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq at various times illegally and they have been expelled," he said.

He said efforts to capture al-Qa'ida members were hampered because many carried multiple fake identification papers, possessed sophisticated weapons and came from a wide variety of countries.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?