“We could never establish that there was Iranian participation, Iranian government participation in the 9/11 plots,” Hurley said. But he added “there was a pattern of being open and welcoming to al-Qaida members, and sometimes even some senior figures of the al-Qaida shura [council] in Afghanistan.”
Hurley, who now serves as an advisor to the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, is among those who hoped the U.S. government would have done more to clarify the nature of the Iran-al-Qaida relationship.
“I don’t have a good sense and I don’t know that there’s been kind of deep active pursuit and investigation of that. I think it may be an area where the government has fallen down to some extent,” he said.
More recently, Canadian investigators alleged that two men arrested in connection with a 2013 plot to derail a train, Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, received “directions and guidance” from members of al-Qaida in Iran. Iran denied any involvement.