As it has in previous years, Iran on Sunday denounced a recent U.S. State Department report that identified the country as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman instead charged that U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was the real leader in funding terrorist activity and claimed that Washington “turns a blind eye to the broad political and financial support by Saudi Arabia and its other allies to this ominous phenomenon in the world.”
"While U.S. allies in the region in various ways support Daesh [IS] and other terrorist groups, the Islamic Republic of Iran is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria,” Hossein Jaber Ansari is quoted as saying on state-run Iranian television.
State Department report
The U.S. State Department published its latest annual report Thursday, in which it said Iran increased its support of Palestinian militants in Gaza last year and supported Hezbollah fighters trying to bolster the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
In addition to supporting these groups, Iran also provides weapons and financial support to anti-Israel militants like Hamas, the report said.
Iran, however, defended its support for Palestinian militants, saying they have the right to resist Israel’s occupation.