News / Middle East

US: Iran Remains Leading State Sponsor of Terrorism

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks, during the 'International Conference on Global Fight Against Terrorism' in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2011.Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks, during the 'International Conference on Global Fight Against Terrorism' in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2011.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks, during the 'International Conference on Global Fight Against Terrorism' in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2011.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks, during the 'International Conference on Global Fight Against Terrorism' in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2011.
STATE DEPARTMENT — The United States says Iran remains the world's biggest state-sponsor of terrorism. The annual U.S. report on global terrorism expresses concern about increasing attacks in Nigeria and Pakistan.

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin said the international community is increasingly alert to Iranian threats and is working to disrupt them.

"We are deeply concerned about Iran's activities on its own through the IRGC Quds Force, and also together with Hezbollah as they pursue destabilizing activities around the globe," said Benjamin.

The annual terrorism report says a September plot last year to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington "underscored anew Iran's interest in using international terrorism - including in the United States - to further its foreign policy goals." It says Iran is training Hamas and Taliban militants in Afghanistan, as well as allowing al-Qaida to use its territory to funnel materiel and personnel to South Asia.

Benjamin said last year's death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and other key operatives put their terror network "on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse."

"We saw millions of citizens throughout the Middle East advance peaceful public demands for change without any reference to al-Qaida's incendiary world view. This upended the group's long-standing claim that change in this region would only come through violence," said Benjamin. "These men and women have underscored in the most powerful fashion the lack of influence al-Qaida exerts over the central political issues in key Muslim-majority nations."

But Benjamin says al-Qaida supporters remain adaptable and have shown resilience in conducting regional attacks that constitute a serious threat to U.S. national security.

Among al-Qaida affiliates, the report says al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula represented a particularly serious threat last year, taking control of territory in southern Yemen and exploiting unrest in that country to advance plots against regional and Western interests.

The report says that in the Sahel, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb gained financially in 2011 through ransoms from kidnappings, while taking advantage of instability in Libya and Mali.

In the Horn of Africa, the report says, al-Shabaab pursued a diverse set of targets, demonstrating the willingness and ability to conduct attacks outside of Somalia. It says the group was weakened last year as a result of the African Union Mission in Somalia, and Kenyan and Ethiopian military offensives that forced it to retreat from Mogadishu.

Benjamin said Nigeria experienced a steady increase in terrorist attacks in 2011, particularly in the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, and Kaduna. The increased terrorism also extended to the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, with Boko Haram militants killing government and security officials, Muslim and Christian clerics, and numerous civilians.

"We've been engaging with the Nigerian government, in particular, at the highest levels to move them toward greater engagement with communities that are vulnerable to extremist violence by addressing the underlying socio-economic problems in the north," said Benjamin.

In Pakistan, Benjamin said, safe havens remain for terrorist groups seeking to conduct domestic, regional and global attacks, including the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

"We've urged Pakistan to take more action against Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. We would certainly like to see more progress on the trial regarding the atrocities in Mumbai. It remains a major concern on the terrorist landscape, without a doubt," he said.

Benjamin said there has been an increase in the number of al-Qaida operatives fighting against the Syrian government, but that the United States believes "the overwhelming majority of the opposition in Syria is composed of ordinary Syrians who are tired of their dictatorship."

Benjamin said that as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power and the country's political transition is blocked, "the danger grows of more foreign fighters, including extremists of the al-Qaida type infiltrating Syria."

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Comment Sorting
by: Viper from: US
August 02, 2012 6:05 PM
@Godwin, I see that you neither read history nor current events.

First there is NO proof that Iran actually want a nuclear weapon (though with US and Israel pumping their fists and treaten with nuclear bombs, you can hardly blame Iran if they want one), Secondly the ONLY country that has ever use nuclear weapons against another country (and against civilians) is USA.
Iran has done nothing to the west (except for supporting the fight against Israel). While we have assassinated their generals and scientist, created a revolution, embargoed the country, cut communications, bombed radarstations and naval facilities, and yet we call them the bad guys?
Cooler heads need to prevail, and Israel, AIPAC and Pentagon is neither, so UN will do its part, and if Iran gets a nuclear bomb, then fine. Pakistan, Israel, India and North Korea already has them so why not Iran.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 02, 2012 11:17 AM
If we're just finding out, sorry. Now that we know it, and she is planning to go to the next level - nuclearization of terrorism - what is the alarm level? Do we wait until the first bomb lands? Where will it land, the White House? Pentagon? Jerusalem? Or where? God forbid that it lands first in Israel or Nigeria! But the USA has delayed so much to take action on Iran just because it is 'election year'. The American public will not forgive Obama for this FATAL mistake, but that's what it takes to be suicidal - do it and dare the consequence. That's just Obama's game. After all Hussein is a muslim and most suicide attacks have come from his brothers in the faith..

by: nojan from: arizona
August 02, 2012 7:32 AM
@ high Aim . israel do our job ? are you on pills ?
we have been slaving away to them for last 60 years . tell me the last time you see israeli army next to us in wars ? in korea , vietnam ,south america , africa , .....first persian gulf war and balkans war . israel has been hiding behind us for decades now they are using their aipac and media to push us to another war in middle east . if they had the ball they would had attacked already . they cant face iran . all they can do is killing civilians in west bank and gaza . killing childrens and women so they can feel strong . what ally ? with friends like this who want enemy !

by: Jason Wreight from: Melbourne Australia
August 01, 2012 5:24 PM
Well said, Viper. And the jewel in the terrorist crown is the US-sponsored terrorist state in Palestine. You know, the one who has repeatedly threatened the world with the use of their illegal nuclear armoury

Not only does Iran have as much moral right to have nukes as the the US or anybody else does, if they had any brians they'd be perfectly justified in building as many as possible as quickly as possible in the face of the US-backed Israeli threat.

MAD works.



by: Spiro from: Greece
August 01, 2012 5:02 PM
Oh, it is so funny reading these Iranian sigehs comments... despicable animals

by: Viper from: US
August 01, 2012 11:48 AM
Actually US is the biggest terror sponsor in the world. Since there is not a Pax Americana definition on who is a terrorist and who is not, we sponsor countless revolts and paramilitary groups around the world, that by their own governments are considered terrorists. We have mercenaries (or as we like to call them contractors) in many countries that basically is you standard goon with a gun. We sell weapons to groups that we like (stingers to the Taliban anyone?) and when governments do the same to groups we don't like, their are called terror sponsors by us.

by: Kam from: Chicago
August 01, 2012 2:49 AM
Do you mean the alleged plot to assassinate Saudi ambassaders? I would allege, that it is far more probable that one this countries own defense contractors would stage such a preposterous false flag operation in an effort to send us to war. Get your facts, Iran was never implicated in the attempted attack.

by: HiGH AiM from: USA
July 31, 2012 9:04 PM
yeah, and what do we do...??? more "sanction" let Israel do our job... we let them do it with Iraq... later, with Syria... now, we hope that they will do our job for us with respect to Iran... yeah, I feel great about us... hey, Obama, just leave the office

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