Internationally syndicated columnist Amir Taheri tells Radio Farda that certain organs, such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, have contacts with al-Qaeda terrorists, but adds that the regime has a love/hate relationship with al-Qaeda rooted in a shared animosity to the US. July 20, 2004 - “The Islamic government’s relationship with al-Qaeda has been a love/hate relationship,” internationally syndicated columnist and commentator Amir Taheri tells Radio Farda’s broadcaster Jamshid Zand.
“Al-Qaeda is composed of hard-line Sunni Muslims who do not consider the Shiites as Muslims, but certain branches within the Islamic regime, who care more for ideological issues, particularly anti-Americanism, than religious values, have established connections with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan through former Afghan prime minister Golbedin Hekmatyar, who has joined al-Qaeda and Taliban since the US invasion of Afghanistan,” Taheri adds.
“The Islamic regime’s relationship with al-Qaeda, which practically ran Afghanistan during the final two years of Taliban rule, was due to their common concerns and fears, and was based on mutual hatred for the US,” he adds.
“When it is claimed that certain organs, such as the IRGC or the intelligence ministry have ties with the al-Qaeda, one cannot pretend that the IRGC or the intelligence ministry are independent organizations separate from the Islamic regime,” Taheri says, cautioning that information about such ties is still sketchy and incomplete.
Iran is becoming a central issue in the US Presidential Election, he adds. “The discussion between the two sides, which my feature prominently in the campaign debates, will help form the US government’s future policy on Iran, regardless of who wins, Taheri says. The US policy options include further isolating the Islamic Republic, pressing for regime change, or selective engagement,” he adds.
In a report issued on Monday by the New York think tank Council on Foreign Relations, President Bush’s Democratic opponents, gathered in a Task Force under President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski, urged the US government to end its policy of isolating Iran in favor of “selective engagement.”