WASHINGTON – Iran continues to arm and finance a terrorist network that extends from South Asia to the Horn of Africa, from Iraq to Yemen, and across the Palestinian territories, the US State Department reported on Wednesday, acknowledging US willingness to nevertheless engage directly in talks with the state over its nuclear program.
Much of the report, released annually by the State Department to outline threats of terrorism around the world, focuses on Iran’s expansive efforts to fund and funnel arms to Islamist organizations, including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon but operates worldwide.
“Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups,” the report details, “although Hamas’s ties to Tehran have been strained due to the Syrian civil war.”
In its efforts to bolster Hezbollah, Iran considers Syria “a crucial causeway in its weapons supply route” and has taken an active role in supporting embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US report claims.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Assad of war crimes, with a direct hand in the deaths of over 120,000 Syrian and Palestinian civilians.
“Iran has publicly admitted sending members of the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] to Syria in an advisory role,” the report notes.
In its support of Hezbollah, Iran has worked since 2006 “in direct violation” of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which prohibits the rearming of the Lebanese terrorist network.
“Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran,” the report states. “These trained fighters often use these skills in support of the Assad regime in Syria.”
Iran has also increased its presence in Africa, and has attempted to smuggle arms into Yemen and to Shia oppositionists in Bahrain.
Iran has been listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984.