Iran weiter unter Verdacht der Terrorunterstützung

--- Iran, das sich mit dem Festhalten an seinem Atomwaffenprogramm international nicht gerade beliebt macht, gerät immer stärker in den Verdacht, auch islamistischen Gotteskriegern und Terroristen aus dem Umfeld der al-Qaida Deckung zu geben. Die LA Times berichtet heute: Despite its periodic crackdowns on the terrorist network, Iran has served as a refuge for Al Qaeda operatives suspected of plotting attacks in Europe and the Middle East and of playing a central role in the Iraqi insurgency, European investigators say. Investigations in France, Italy, Spain and other countries since the Sept. 11 attacks point to an increasing presence in Iran of Al Qaeda figures, including suspected masterminds of this year's train bombings in Madrid and last year's car bombings of expatriate compounds in Saudi Arabia. But Iran's complex politics and secretive policies have made it difficult to determine the nature of any relationship between Iranian officials and the terror network, investigators say. The potential ties between Iran and Al Qaeda drew attention last month with the release of the final report of the Sept. 11 commission. The U.S. panel found that eight of the hijackers had traveled through Iran but did not produce much evidence of an Al Qaeda-Iran alliance before the 2001 attacks. What concerns Western law enforcement officials, however, is the post-Sept. 11 menace posed by the terrorist group, including its involvement in Iraq and deadly attacks in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. As Osama bin Laden's movement has reconfigured since 2001, Iran has become an intermittent refuge for kingpins who have gained stature and autonomy while Bin Laden has faded from the limelight, European officials say. "The Iranians play a double game," said a top French law enforcement official who, like others interviewed, asked to remain anonymous. "Everything they can do to trouble the Americans, without going too far, they do it. They have arrested important Al Qaeda people, but they have permitted other important Al Qaeda people to operate. It is a classic Iranian style of ambiguity, deception, manipulation."