News / Middle East

    US Senators Examine Iranian Involvement with Terrorism

    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (July 2012 photo)U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (July 2012 photo)
    x
    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (July 2012 photo)
    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (July 2012 photo)
    Michael Bowman
    CAPITOL HILL — Iran’s support for terrorists around the world will grow further if it acquires nuclear weapons, according to U.S. lawmakers and experts testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.

    The United States has long regarded Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  Tehran’s backing for terrorists was highlighted by last week’s suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists.  Israeli officials say the attack was carried out with Iranian support, a charge Tehran denies.

    Whatever Iran’s current activities, a nuclear-armed Iran would be emboldened to do even more, according to Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

    “A nuclear Iran would feel empowered to conduct more terrorist attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets, provide more lethal assistance to Hezbollah and Palestinian militant groups, and give the Quds Force greater freedom to support terrorist groups across the Middle East,” Casey said.

    Washington Institute for Near East Policy counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt put it more succinctly.

    “If Iran were to get a nuclear capability, that would be Iran on steroids,” Levitt said.

    But would Iran go so far as to share atomic weapons with terrorists?

    Middle East scholar Daniel Byman of the Washington-based Brookings Institution says he does not think so.

    “The silver lining [i.e., the good news], if we can call it that, is that under current circumstances Iran would not be likely to pass a nuclear weapon to terrorist groups.  One indication of Iran’s caution on this score is that it has not transferred much less-lethal weapons, such as chemical weapons, even though these have been in Iran’s arsenal for over 25 years,” Byman said.

    International sanctions on Iran have focused on deterring Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, not its backing for international terrorism.  And although the economic pressure felt by Iran as a result of the sanctions might constrain Tehran on several fronts, including its support of terrorists, it will not force any severing of terrorist ties, says Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute.

    “I do not think they are going to let go of these groups because of the nuclear sanctions.  And even if we come to some agreement [on Iran’s nuclear program], there seems to be reason for them to abandon their support for terrorist groups, because they have never done so before, and because they have never really paid a high price for supporting those groups,” Pletka said.

    The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have passed separate bills to further tighten U.S. sanctions on Iran.  It is not clear whether the two chambers will pass a unified version of a bill that President Barack Obama could sign into law.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora