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Pakistan’s New Al Qaeda Detainee and Iran

5:00 PM, Jun 20, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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There are additional ties between Meziche’s cell and Iran.  For instance, according to Der Spiegel, a senior al Qaeda terrorist named Younis al Mauritani (since captured) instructed Meziche and another member of the cell, an Iranian national named Shahab Dashti, to travel to Iran where “they would be told where in Europe they were to be deployed to begin building structures for bin Laden’s organization.”

Once in Iran, Dashti “was to undergo facial plastic surgery” because he had already appeared in a propaganda video and was therefore recognizable to European authorities. However, Dashti did not get a chance to fool Western intelligence officials, because he was killed in a drone strike in northern Pakistan in early October 2010, after the plot was uncovered.

Still other members of Meziche’s cell met with Yassin al Suri and senior al Qaeda operatives involved in the Iran-based network.

The question the press and the U.S. government should be asking is: What did the Iranian regime know about the cell’s activities prior to the 2010 plot being broken up?

Even absent any intelligence that can be used to answer that question, however, it is clear that Iran’s deal with al Qaeda has allowed some deadly operatives targeting the West to move about freely.

These operatives have not had the same freedom of movement even in Pakistan, an often duplicitous ally in the fight against terrorism.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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