WASHINGTON – Iran’s support for terrorism and the activities of its proxy
Hezbollah are at their highest levels in more than a decade, according to a top
“We are increasingly concerned about Iran’s support for
terrorism and Hezbollah’s activities as they’ve both stepped up their level of
terrorist plotting over the past year,” said Daniel Benjamin, the State
Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, in releasing the 2011 US report
on global terror Tuesday.
“[They] are engaging in their most active and
aggressive campaigns since the 1990s.”
Briefing journalists on the
report, Benjamin did not point to any specific case beyond Iran’s attempted
assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, but other plots
against Israeli diplomats and civilians in countries as diverse as India,
Thailand and Georgia are also believed to have Iranian fingerprints.
asked directly whether Iran was involved in the bus bombing that killed five
Israeli tourists and their driver in Bulgaria last month, Benjamin declined to
provide an answer.
Benjamin characterized Iran as “the preeminent state
sponsor of terrorism in the world,” and said the US was “deeply concerned” about
Iran undertaking violent activities directly through its Iranian Revolutionary
Guards Corps Quds Force.
He added that when it came to dealing with Iran
and Hezbollah, “We are firmly committed to working with partners and allies to
counter and disrupt Iranian activities.”
He also assessed that the
international community “is increasingly alert to this threat and will resist
The report, which chronicles attacks and trends in countries around
the world, also found a decline in terrorism globally as well as al-Qaida
efforts specifically. It lists four major leaders of the organization who were
killed last year in addition to Osama bin Laden.
“The loss of bin Laden
and these other key operatives puts the network on a path of decline that will
be difficult to reverse,” the report states. “These successes are attributable,
in large part, to global counterterrorism cooperation, which has put
considerable pressure on the al-Qaida core leadership in
Benjamin cautioned, however, that despite the blows to
al-Qaida’s core components, affiliates continue to proliferate and improve their
“For all the counterterrorism successes that we’ve seen
against al-Qaida and its affiliates, the group and violent extremist ideology
and rhetoric continue to spread in some parts of the world,” he noted.