A lawsuit has been filed accusing Iran and Hezbollah of “direct support for, and sponsorship of, the most deadly act of terrorism in American history.” Drawing on the knowledge of two Iranian intelligence defectors, three 9/11 Commission staffers and various experts, eight law firms are placing blame for the September 11 attacks on the Iranian regime. If successful, the lawsuit will put to rest the notion that a nuclear Iran can be lived with.
The first indications of possible Iranian involvement in the September 11 attacks were in the 9/11 Commission Report released in 2004. The report revealed that 8 to 10 of the hijackers had gone to Iran between October 2000 and February 2001. The border guards were apparently ordered not to stamp their passports. In October 2000, a senior Hezbollah official went to Saudi Arabia to prepare for the arrival of guests in Iran. The lawsuit says this was Imad Mughniyah, a top agent of Iran and operations chief of Hezbollah. That same month, two future hijackers (Mohand al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi) flew from Iran to Kuwait.
The next month, another future hijacker (Ahmed al-Ghamdi) flew to Beirut on the same flight as Mughniyah. Salem al-Hazmi also flew to Beirut from Saudi Arabia separately. In the middle of the month, three more hijackers (Ahmed al-Nami, Waleed al-Shehri and Wail al-Shehri) flew together from Saudi Arabia to Beirut and then went to Iran on the same flight as an associate of Mughniyah. According to the 9/11 Commission, top Hezbollah officials in Beirut and Iran were expecting important visitors at this time. The report said it “cannot rule out the possibility of a remarkable coincidence.”
Two other hijackers (Satam al-Suqami and Majed Moqed) flew to Iran from Bahrain this same month. The report also disclosed that Khalid al-Mindhar, yet another hijacker, flew from Syria to Iran in February 2001. Iran expert Kenneth Timmerman revealed in his book, Countdown to Crisis, that Ramzi Binalshibh, a central figure to the 9/11 plot, repeatedly stopped in Iran on his way to Afghanistan to brief the Al-Qaeda leadership on the plot’s progress. After Binalshibh was told by Mohammed Atta the date of the operation, he took this same route at about the same time as Ayman al-Zawahiri visited Iran. “It is hard to believe that the presence in Iran of a top 9/11 planner and bin Laden’s right-hand man just two months before the September 11 attack was a coincidence,” Timmerman wrote.
“Mughniyah’s participation in the hijackers’ preparations for the 9/11 attacks leaves no doubt that Iran was directly involved in, and had foreknowledge of, a planned terrorist attack on the U.S.,” said Thomas E. Mellon of Mellon Webster & Shelly, the lead attorney in the case.
However, the 9/11 Commission downplayed the possibility that the attacks were tied to Iran. It said it “found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack” but the matter “requires further investigation.” Timmerman writes that the Commission was only made aware of the evidence a week before publication and a large body of evidence was not considered.