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Iran’s Sponsorship of Terrorism Worldwide

FEBRUARY 2011

  • Iran has earned its spot at the top of the list of the State Department’s list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism” for more than twenty years.
  • The Islamic Republic has supported a wide range of terrorist groups, from Shi’ite jihadis like Hezbollah, to Sunni Jihadis like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and even al-Qaeda.  It also supports secular Marxists like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
  • Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Iranian leaders do not care if the terrorists are Sunnis or Shi'ites.  All they care about is the terrorists' willingness to attack Iran's enemies: the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and others.
  • America is at the top of Iran's enemies list.  The Islamic Republic has been killing Americans for nearly thirty years.  In recent years, Iran has targeted our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by terrorists who are armed and paid by Iran, and often receive training inside Iran’s borders.
  • For many years, the US Government officially denied any knowledge of Iranian support for terrorist attacks against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As the Wikileaks documents, and multiple public statements by our military commanders show, our own intelligence community does not doubt about the Iranian role.
  • It is difficult to understand how the current US administration sought to downplay this information, and instead seek a "grand bargain" with the Islamic Republic, whereby Iran ceases to support terrorism and develop an illicit nuclear program in exchange for a vague alliance with the West.
  • Iran has a dangerous presence in Latin America. It has been indicted for its attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets in Argentina in 1992 and 1994. It is known to maintain terrorist networks through the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah in the tri-border area (the ungoverned space shared by Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil).
  • In recent years, the Iranians have further penetrated Latin America, mostly through Venezuela.  There is a weekly flight from Tehran to Caracas, which carries passengers who do not go through immigration formalities, receive Venezuelan passports, and then disappear.  Where do they go and what do they do?
  • Policymakers would be wise to revisit the role of Iran in the 9/11 attack against the United States.  The 9/11 Commission’s report noted unequivocally that Iran played a role in the attack, and the Commission encouraged the intelligence community to explain this role to the American public. Ten years later, there is still no public explanation.