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January 21, 2004
9/11: An Iranian Operation?

A German trial of an alleged al-Qaeda accomplice was halted when a surprise witness implicated the Islamic government of Iran in the 9/11 attack on the United States:

On what had been the eve of his widely expected acquittal, the trial of the second person charged by German authorities as an accomplice of the Sept. 11 hijackers was thrown into turmoil Wednesday after prosecutors disclosed the existence of a surprise witness purporting to link Iran to the hijackings.

The mysterious witness, who goes by the name Hamid Reza Zakeri and claims to have been a longtime member of the Iranian intelligence service, is said to have told German investigators that the Sept. 11 plot represented what one termed a "joint venture" between the terrorist group al-Qaida and the Iranian government.

German authorities are skeptical of this assertion, according to the article, saying that the two-year delay in relating this connection and its obvious implications make the story "look a little bit constructed." The German federal police just turned over the transcripts of interviews with the witness and now have to substantiate his credibility to the court, which gave a 30-day recess in order to make a determination. If it turns out to be unsubstantiated or just demonstrably false, it appears that the defendant will probably be acquitted, making the BKA's sudden introduction of this witness even more ... convenient.

However, if the BKA and/or the CIA can substantiate significant parts of his story, it may change the dynamic of the Persian Gulf situation immediately. Bush made it clear than any entity involved in 9/11, either by direct participation or by actively supporting the perpetrators, are considered to be in a state of war with the US. Also, it has been widely reported that senior al-Qaeda operatives have been staying in Iran, although questions remain about their status as guests or prisoners. Iran is the birthplace of modern Islamofascism and has been the largest supporter of terror groups in the past three decades.

German prosecutors and CIA analysts better make sure their information is as good as it possibly can be. We cannot afford to allow governments to attack our country by proxy -- but we cannot make the mistake of punishing Iran for an attack with which they had no involvement.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 21, 2004 9:33 PM

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