TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran said Tuesday it had detained two suspected Al Qaeda members who entered the country illegally from Iraq, state television reported.
“Two suspected Al Qaeda operatives were arrested after entering Ilam province from Iraq,” the television reported, adding that they were being interrogated.
Iran says it has made a significant contribution to the global campaign against terrorism by detaining agents of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, but the United States accuses the Tehran government of harboring Al Qaeda fugitives.
Iran says it has repatriated more than 500 suspected Al Qaeda operatives. It has also said that some Al Qaeda suspects would stand trial in Iranian courts for offenses committed in Iran, but no reports of such trials have emerged.
U.S. counter-terrorism officials have said a handful of senior Al Qaeda operatives who fled to Iran after the war in Afghanistan in 2001 may have developed a working relationship with a secretive military unit linked to Iran’s religious hard-liners. Iran has rejected the charges.