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In a video, Al Qaeda's No. 2 criticizes Tehran

September 09, 2008|From Times Wire Services

CAIRO — Al Qaeda released a video Monday accusing Iran of collaborating with the United States.

Ayman Zawahiri, the terrorist network's second in command, claimed that Tehran was "cooperating with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan," and denounced Iran for recognizing the two governments.

Al Qaeda, a militant Sunni Muslim network, often criticizes predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran, which has good ties with Afghanistan's anti-Taliban leaders and Iraq's Shiite-led government. "Not even one Shiite authority -- whether in Iraq or elsewhere -- has issued a fatwa [religious edict] obligating jihad and taking up of arms against the American crusader invaders in Iraq and Afghanistan," Zawahiri said.

Short excerpts of the message were aired on the Arabic satellite news channel Al Jazeera.

Zawahiri has been increasingly singling out Iran and Shiites in his messages, most recently in April, describing the "Persians" as the enemy of Arabs and complicit in the occupation of Iraq.

Monday's video, released a few days before the Sept. 11 anniversary, featured clips of Al Qaeda operations in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, Al Jazeera said.

The pan-Arab network did not disclose how it obtained the recording. By late Monday, the video had not surfaced on militant websites commonly used as clearinghouses for terrorist networks' messages.

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