Cheney does not believe in close ties between Iran, Al-Qaeda

Date: 01-21-06

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Vice President Dick Cheney has said he does not believe there are close relations between Iran and Al-Qaeda, seeming to distance himself from some earlier US administration charges.

"I think you've got to remember that the Al-Qaeda organization is primarily made up of radical Sunni Islamists, of course, and the Iranian regime is Shia-dominated -- Shia. So there's not a natural fit there," Cheney said in a telephone interview with the Hugh Hewitt Show, released by the White House.

"That doesn't mean that there haven't been relationships over the years, but I don't believe it's close. I haven't seen any evidence of that," Cheney added on the heels of new broadcast threats by Osama bin Laden.

The George W. Bush administration on several occasions has accused Iran of supporting terrorism and Al-Qaeda.

Iran has said it arrested several hundred Al-Qaeda members after the US-led attack in Afghanistan in 2001. Tehran says it has extradited some of them when possible and that it would try those who challenged its security. But it has been tight-lipped about the identities of the prisoners and their fates.



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