Rumsfeld could not provide proof

Rumsfeld said the Islamic republic was allowing al-Qaeda members to operate inside the country.

 

"There's no question but that there are al-Qaeda in Iran. There's also a good deal of speculation about their role in what took place in Saudi Arabia," he told a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday.

 

Rumsfeld did not provide any evidence or name the al-Qaeda members he believed were in Iran.

 

When asked about the role of the al-Qaeda members in the Saudi bombings, Rumsfeld said: "I know. ... (But) I'm not going to get into it. That's for others to do."

 

Following last week’s attacks in Saudi Arabia, Rumsfeld and US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Iran was letting members of al-Qaeda to operate there. Iran denied the allegations.

 

US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have said al-Qaeda figures whom they believed were in Iran included Saif al-Adl, an Egyptian indicted for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in East Africa.

 

One official said bin Laden’s son, Saad, could be in Iran. Saad is not considered a high-ranking leader in the network.

 

The US severed its diplomatic ties with Iran in 1979 after Iranian students took control of the US embassy there and held 52 hostages for 444 days.

 

It has included the Islamic republic in its “axis of evil”, accusing Iran of developing weapons of mass destruction and supporting groups that are placed on US lists of terrorist organisations.