TORONTO - The two men arrested and charged by Canadian police with plotting to derail a Toronto-area passenger train, were reportedly backed by al-Qaida elements in Iran.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police official James Malizia told reporters the two men had received "support from al-Qaida elements located in Iran" but there was no indication that the plot, which police described as the first known al-Qaida-backed plot on Canadian soil, was sponsored by Tehran.
However, a US government source said Iran was home to a little-known network of al-Qaida fixers and "facilitators" based in the Iranian city of Zahedan, very close to Iran's borders with both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The source said they serve as go-betweens, travel agents and financial intermediaries for al-Qaida operatives and cells operating in Pakistan and moving through the area.
They do not operate under the protection of the Iranian government, which periodically launches crackdowns on al-Qaida elements, though at other times it appears to turn a blind eye to them.
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