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    Mike Pence links Soleimani to September 11 attacks

    Credit: Belga

    American vice-President Mike Pence linked Iranian general Qassem Soleimani to those responsible for the New York September 11 attacks in a tweet. 

    “Soleimani helped 10 out of the 12 terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks in the United States travel via Afghanistan in secret,” Pence wrote on Twitter on Friday. This was just one of a series of messages justifying the American decision to kill him earlier this week. 

    As the September 11 attacks were in fact committed by 19 hijackers, Pence’s spokeswoman Katie Waldman said he was talking about the 12 that “travelled via Afghanistan.” He then repeated that “10 of those 12 were assisted by Soleimani.” 

    Soleimani was already the head of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, responsible for operations outside Iran, at the time. However Soleimani was never mentioned in a report by the American Parliamentary Investigative Commission on the September 11 attacks, The New York Times reports.

    The report explains that even though “there is strong proof that Iran allowed Al-Qaida members to travel to and from Afghanistan before September 11,” investigators found “no proof that Iran was aware of the preparations for the attack.”

    “Al-Qaida members themselves were probably not aware of the details of the upcoming operation when they were in Iran,” the report said. 

    The Washington Post notes it is therefore “technically correct to say Iran assisted them,” but not to give the impression they did it to “consciously assist what was to become the September 11 attacks.” Nothing indicates Soleimani directly took part in this “assistance”, the paper adds.

    15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks were in fact Saudi Arabian nationals, a Sunni country and rival of Shiite Iran. 

    Pence has stuck to the Trump administration’s strategy of highlighting the “atrocities” committed by Soleimani. 

    The American State department claimed he was “responsible for the deaths of 603 American soldiers” in a tweet. “17% American personnel deaths in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 can be linked to this terrorist and the Quds Force.”

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times