This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, claimed terrorist group, al-Qaeda had based itself in the state.
He added that Iranian spies had assisted the group in various ways, including by supplying it with forged passports. "Unlike in Afghanistan, when Al-Qaeda was hiding in the mountains, Al-Qaeda today is operating under the hard shell of the Iranian regime's protection".
Last November, Iran denied a report that al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, had been shot dead in Tehran in the summer by Israeli agents, following a request from the US.
Iranian officials have flatly rejected accusations that their country has harbored or provided support to Al Qaeda leaders. The hard-line parliamentarian said in a televised interview earlier this week that the Islamic Republic will "definitely" push out those inspectors if the incoming Joe Biden administration fails to lift United States sanctions against Iran by February 21.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that al Qaeda has established a new home base in Iran.
A reward poster is displayed at the National Press Club in Washington on Jan 12 2021
But he announced sanctions on several individuals and a $7 million reward for information on an al-Qaida member he said was believed to be in Iran identified both as Muhammad Abbatay or Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi.
In October 2017, when serving as Central Intelligence Agency director, Pompeo said that "there have been times the Iranians have worked alongside al-Qaeda". Parsi said, adding that Pompeo could have then used the al-Qaida case to justify Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran.
Iran, a Shiite clerical state, is ideologically opposed both to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, extreme Sunni movements that are predominantly Arab, and has fought on fronts overseas against both.
"Iran made a decision to allow al-Qaida to establish a new operational headquarters, on the condition that al-Qaida operatives inside abide by the regime's rules governing al-Qaida's stay inside the country", Pompeo said.
A former senior US intelligence official with direct knowledge of the issue said the Iranians were never friendly with al Qaeda before or after the 11 September attacks and any claims of current cooperation should be viewed warily.
Relations between Teheran and Washington have deteriorated since 2018 when Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, which imposed strict curbs on its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.