By: Zack Duvall
A global terror report released by the State Department a day after newly implemented sanctions against Iran by U.S. officials, shows that world wide terror-related attacks decreased by roughly nine-percent for the year in 2016, but that the Iranian government is still the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, a title held by the Islamic republic since 1984.
The report, that is an annual terrorism analysis done by the State Department, called Iran the “foremost” state sponsor of global terrorist networks and activities; and blasted Iranian officials for their continued support of numerous anti–Israel groups throughout the Middle East. The report names the violent extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, specifically, as beneficiaries of Iranian equipment, training, and funding for the purpose of continuing the Iranian proxy war against Israel.
The report also cited intelligence reports, released in 2016, that indicate Iran is continuing recruitment efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to send fighters from those areas to the fight on the front lines in Iraq and Syria on behalf of Iranian interests in those countries.
“Iran remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2016 as groups supported by Iran maintained their capability to threaten U.S. interests and allies.” State Department officials said in the report.
The report released Monday is the first such report for President Trump’s administration since taking office, and is considered especially important because of the recent announcement of new sanctions against Iran, and the complete review of U.S.- Iranian relations currently being done by White House officials. The review is expected to be completed by the end of August, and could result in additional sanctions and diplomatic action by the U.S. against Iran over its continued support of global terror organizations.
However, despite the report’s tough stance on Iran, the overall state of the world’s fight against terrorism and extremist groups appears to be improving. The report cites a 13-percent drop in terror related killings, from 28,328 in 2015 to 25,621 in 2016, as evidence that global initiatives and efforts to combat terror-related activity is beginning to have an impact on organizations such as ISIS and Al- Qaeda to successfully launch attacks against the global community.
The leading “non-state” actor named in the State Department’s report of global terrorism was ISIS that, according to the report,, was directly responsible for 20-percent of global terror is 2016, with much of that violence being done across the globe.
The Iranian entities named in the sanctions announced Monday by the State Department include businesses and individuals affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, namely any such entity that had direct dealings with the ‘Quds Force’ that officials have said played a “destabilizing role in military conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.”
The report went on to mention ‘Qud’ force operations and activities directly, and slammed Iranian officials and leaders for authorizing such actions to be carried out.
“(Iran) Has used the ‘Quds Force’ to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East.” The report outlined.
Iran has defiantly admitted publicly its involvement in various hot spots throughout the Middle East and announced plans to expand its ballistic missile program by the fall.
U.S. officials and State Department leaders are expected to make formal recommendations for future action in regards to Iranian activities after the review by the Trump administration is completed next month.