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"IRAN CONTINUES TO HOST senior al Qaeda leaders who are wanted for murdering Americans and other victims in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings. We have called repeatedly for these terrorists to be handed over to states that will prosecute them and bring them to justice. We believe that some al Qaeda members and those from like-minded extremist groups continue to use Iran as a safe haven and as a hub to facilitate their operations."
So said a high State Department official in a speech in Washington on November 30. The assertions by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns were nothing new. Though often overlooked, they have been the position of the U.S. government for some time. As discussion of Iran's nuclear program and its hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intensifies, Iranian aid to al Qaeda should not be allowed to drop off the radar screen.