Iran: June 17, 2004

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Iran stop this.

The government says it is about ready to bring the al Qaeda members it holds, to trial. The government has been coy about how many al Qaeda members they hold, but it is thought to be several hundred. It is known that many al Qaeda members fled west when the Taliban government collapsed in late 2001. Accusations that Iran would allow al Qaeda to continue operating in Iran are less certain. Al Qaeda is a Sunni Moslem organization, while nearly all Iranians are Shia Moslems. Hard core Sunni (which is what the al Qaeda are), consider Shia heretics, and often kill them. This happened in Afghanistan during Taliban rule, and is still happening in Pakistan. The anti-Shia violence is mostly a grass roots thing, for even the Saudi Arabian government, and its senior (Sunni) clerics, denounce any abuse of Shias. But al Qaeda is a known enemy of the Shia. That's probably the reason why the government has been trying to trade their al Qaeda prisoners to the United States for as much as they can get. These negotiations have been very quiet and secret, but apparently  the Iranians have been asking for too much.  One demand that has been mentioned is the release of billions of of dollars of Iranian government assets, which were seized by the United States when Iran seized the American diplomatic staff in Iran in 1979.  In addition to the al Qaeda from Afghanistan, there are several hundred Ansar al Islam terrorists, which is Kurdish, Sunni, and an al Qaeda affiliate.  The Ansar guys fled Iraq in 2002 when their camps were attacked by Kurds and American Special

 

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