Anyone who has a basic knowledge of the culture and politics of the Middle East knows that Al-Qaeda is the pet toy of Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda hates Iran even more than it hates Israel and the United States.
Tony Cartalucci writes in his article, "US-Canada Claim Iran-Al Qaeda Ties Despite US Funding Al Qaeda in Iran for Years":
Both at face value and upon deeper examination, this assertion is utterly absurd, divorced from reality, and indicative of the absolute contempt within which the Western establishment holds the global public. In reality, the West, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in particular, have propped up and perpetuated Al Qaeda for the very purpose of either undermining or overthrowing the governments of Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and beyond.In August 2011, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett wrote in their article, "Iran And Al-QA'IDA: Can The Charges be Substantiated?":
Clearly, US-Canadian claims that Iran is somehow involved in harboring Al Qaeda within its borders, when it has been the West for years propping them up specifically to overthrow the Iranian government, are utterly absurd. In reality, while the West uses Al Qaeda's presence both within Iran and along it peripheries to undermine and ultimately overthrow the Iranian government, it in turn uses these very terror organizations to induce paralyzing fear across Western populations in order to consolidate and expand power at home.
Last week, the Obama Administration formally charged the Islamic Republic of working with al-Qa’ida. The charge was presented as part of the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was designating six alleged al-Qa’ida operatives for terrorism-related financial sanctions, see here. The six are being designated, according to Treasury, because of their involvement in transiting money and operatives for al-Qa’ida to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The announcement claims that part of this scheme was a “secret deal” between the Iranian government and al-Qa’ida, whereby Tehran allowed the terrorist group to use Iranian territory in the course of moving money and personnel.
For the most part, major media outlets uncritically transmitted the Obama Administration’s charge, without much manifestation of serious effort to verify it, find out more about the sourcing upon which it was based, or place it in any sort of detailed and nuanced historical context.
During her service at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and at the National Security Council in 2001-2003, Hillary was one of a handful of U.S. officials who participated in nearly two years of substantive talks with Iranian counterparts about Afghanistan and al-Qa’ida.
–Since leaving government, we—and other former U.S. officials knowledgeable about the U.S.-Iranian dialogue over these matters—have related how the Iranians raised, almost immediately after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the problem of al-Qa’ida personnel trying to make their way from Afghanistan into Iran, consistently warning about the difficulties of securing Iran’s 936 kilometer-long border with Afghanistan (as well as its 700 kilometer-long border with Pakistan).
–We and others have also related how Tehran documented its detention of literally hundreds of suspected al-Qa’ida operatives, repatriated as many of these detainees to their countries of origin as it could, and requested U.S. assistance in facilitating repatriations of detainees whose governments did not want to cooperate (a request the Bush Administration denied).
–Furthermore, we described how, over the course of 2002 and early 2003, Bush Administration hardliners made substantive discussion and coordination with Iran over Iraq dependent on Tehran finding, arresting, and deporting a small number of specific al-Qa’ida figures—beyond the hundreds of suspected al-Qa’ida operatives the Islamic Republic had already apprehended—that Washington suspected had sought refuge in Iran’s lawless Sistan-Balochistan province. Although Tehran deployed additional security forces to its eastern borders, Iranian officials acknowledged that a small group of al-Qa’ida figures had managed to avoid capture and enter Iranian territory, most likely through Sistan-Balochistan, in 2002. The Iranian government located and took some of these individuals into custody and said that others identified by the United States were either dead or not in Iran. At the beginning of May 2003, after Baghdad had fallen, Tehran offered to exchange the remaining al-Qa’ida figures in Iran for a small group of MEK commanders in Iraq, with the treatment of those repatriated to Iran monitored by the International Committee for the Red Cross and a commitment not to apply the death penalty to anyone prosecuted on their return. But the Bush Administration rejected any deal.