Monday, March 05, 2007

Perspective: Iran might want U.S. help against al Qaeda

A Taliban fighter in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran could be interested in cooperating with the United States to combat al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, a leading U.S. expert on Afghanistan said on Thursday.

Barnett Rubin, one-time adviser to former U.N. special representative to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi, said Iranian officials have told him privately that al Qaeda poses a new threat to Afghanistan that could have implications for Iran's national security.

"They believe that al Qaeda is the number one threat to Iran, maybe after the United States," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Iran's ruling Muslim clerics are Shi'ite, an Islamic sect opposed by the Sunni-dominated al Qaeda and Taliban.

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