The Obama administration is accusing the Iranian government of entering into a "secret deal" with al Qaeda to funnel money and insurgents from the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Treasury says Iran has allowed al Qaeda operatives to build a "core pipeline" to funnel cash and extremists to the front lines. It says Iran had become a "critical transit point" for money and recruits, and slapped sanctions on six alleged al Qaeda agents.
They include an Iran-based member allegedly operating with the permission of authorities in Tehran. The sanctions freeze any assets the six may have in the US and ban Americans from commercial or financial transactions with them.
Treasury said its exposure of the deal and the sanctions would further set back Iran and al Qaeda's extremist agenda.