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Iran Admits Holding al Qaeda Operatives

Iranian officials Thursday told a U.N. representative that Iran has several unnamed al Qaeda operatives in custody, CNN has learned. The acknowledgment comes as Washington has intensified its accusations that al Qaeda terrorists are inside Iran — something Tehran had previously denied. U.S. officials said the key question is whether the al Qaeda operatives in custody are allowed to communicate and receive visitors. One Bush administration official told CNN that Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special representative for Afghanistan, met Thursday in Geneva with Iranian officials. It was during that meeting that Iran said it had several al Qaeda operatives in custody, the official said. The United States had planned to send its own representative to the meeting, but canceled “because of concerns of an al Qaeda link,” the U.S. official said. The meeting was for the “six-plus-two” group made up of foreign ministers from Afghanistan’s six neighbors — China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan — as well as the U.S. and Russia. Full Story

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