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Saturday, July 17, 2004

TIME.com: 9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran

TIME.com: 9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran: "W E B E X C L U S I V E
9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran
Senior U.S. officials have told TIME that the 9/11 Commission's report will cite evidence suggesting that the 9/11 hijackers had previously passed through Iran
By ADAM ZAGORIN AND JOE KLEIN

Friday, Jul. 16, 2004
Next week's much anticipated final report by a bipartisan commission on the origins of the 9/11 attacks will contain new evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and Iran�just weeks after the Administration has come under fire for overstating its claims of contacts between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
A senior U.S. official told TIME that the Commission has uncovered evidence suggesting that between eight and ten of the 14 'muscle' hijackers�that is, those involved in gaining control of the four 9/11 aircraft and subduing the crew and passengers�passed through Iran in the period from October 2000 to February 2001. Sources also tell TIME that Commission investigators found that Iran had a history of allowing al-Qaeda members to enter and exit Iran across the Afghan border. This practice dated back to October 2000, with Iranian officials issuing specific instructions to their border guards�in some cases not to put stamps in the passports of al-Qaeda personnel�and otherwise not harass them and to facilitate their travel across the frontier. The report does not, however, offer evidence that Iran was aware of the plans for the 9/11 attacks.
The senior official also told TIME that the report will note that Iranian officials approached the al-Qaeda leadership after the bombing of the USS Cole and proposed a collaborative relationship in future attacks on the U.S., but the offer was turned down by bin Laden because he did not want to alie"

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