Iranian navy ship..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Despite facing costly obstacles from the Syrian civil war, Iran continued its arming and funding of terror proxies targeting Israel throughout 2014 largely unabated, the US government found in a report released on Friday.
The State Department report— an annual accounting of organized terrorism worldwide— asserts that Iran has continued, if not expanded, its operations beyond its historical focus on Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to a limited number of operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as to "various groups throughout the Middle East."
"Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)," the report reads. "These Palestinian terrorist groups have been behind a number of deaths from attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank."
Much of Iran's efforts throughout 2014 focused on maintaining its "resistance front" in Syria and Iraq, the report says, through its support for Shia governments and militias. The report notes of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC) presence on the ground in both countries.
The report notes of an Israeli naval raid that took place in March of that year on a cargo ship traversing the Red Sea, the Klos C, off the coast of Sudan, which was found bearing 40 M-302 rockets, 180 mortars, and approximately 400,000 rounds of ammunition hidden within crates of cement labeled "Made in Iran."
"Although Hamas’s ties to Tehran have been strained due to the Syrian civil war, in a November 25 speech, Supreme Leader Khamenei highlighted Iran’s military support to 'Palestinian brothers' in Gaza and called for the West Bank to be similarly armed," the report continues. "In December, Hamas Deputy Leader Moussa Abu Marzouk announced bilateral relations with Iran and Hamas were 'back on track.'"
In the North, Iran continues providing Hezbollah— active in the fight in Syria as well as against the Jewish state from Lebanon— with "hundreds of millions of dollars. And the report claims Tehran is training "thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran."
"General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC Aerospace Force, stated in November that 'the IRGC and Hezbollah are a single apparatus jointed together,' and Lebanese Hizballah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem boasted that Iran had provided his organization with missiles that had 'pinpoint accuracy' in separate November public remarks," it states.
The State Department asserts that, in admitting its arming of Hezbollah, Iran is in open violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1701 and 1747.
The report praises Israel's response to terror threats throughout the year, which saw war with Hamas in Gaza over fifty days that summer.
"Israel was hit by a record volume of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza and the Sinai in 2014, according to the Israeli government, with more than 4,660 projectiles launched, most during the July-August conflict, at Israeli territory compared to 74 launchings in 2013 and 2,557 in 2012," it says, referring to Israel as a "committed counterterrorism partner."
"Militants from Gaza also infiltrated Israeli territory using tunnels in six separate attacks and, for the first time, by a sea-borne operation," it continued. The report also praises Egypt for taking aggressive counterterrorism measures against Hamas and its tunnel operations in the Sinai.
It notes, briefly, that Iranian proliferation of nuclear weapons remains a concern.