In testimony provided to a New York federal court regarding an Iranian role in the September 11, 2001 attacks, two former CIA officers asserted that Iran and Al-Qaeda collaborated on multiple terrorist operations, including the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. The witnesses stated that the cooperation took place with the consent of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other senior officials. Families of the September 11 attacks’ victims, together with several insurance companies, are demanding that Iran pay the financial damages.
In a new two-part series, Asharq Al-Awsat is publishing nine documents and excerpts from court testimony which Southern District of New York Judge George Daniels went on to accept as factual in ruling that the Iranian government helped plan and facilitate the September 11 attacks. The first part includes excerpts from the testimony of the two former CIA officers: Clare Lopez, a former undercover operations officer for the Agency; and Dr. Bruce D. Tefft, a former Chief of Station for the CIA. According to their affidavits, the Iranian government provided training, logistical, and financial support which enabled Al-Qaeda to target the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Washington DC (the latter, a flight in which passengers wrested control from the hijackers and crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania).
The two former officers added that high-level cooperation between the Iranian government and Al-Qaeda was a matter of state policy, with the approval of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian. Witnesses found the collaboration to have proved instrumental in the Khobar Towers bombing, attacks on two United States embassies in East Africa in 1998, and the speed boat suicide bombing of the destroyer USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000. They stated further that cooperation continued after the September 11 attacks — resulting, inter alia, in the Riyadh compound bombings of May 2003, which killed 38 people and injured 160 others.