‘Iran Remains Foremost State Sponsor Of Terrorism,’ US Declares

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, the U.S. Department of State’s 2016 report on worldwide terrorism alleges.

“Iran continues to provide support to Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. Iran employed the Quds Force of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East,” acting U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell told reporters Wednesday.

Siberell also alleged that “Iran has allowed al-Qaida facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through the country, enabling al-Qaida to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.”

The State Department’s report and emphasis on Iran’s activity comes two days after the U.S. certified the Islamic republic’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed new sanctions on it. These sanctions targeted Iran’s ballistic missile program as well commanders involved in terrorism.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have skyrocketed in recent days. The U.S. insisted in its announcement re-certifying the Iran deal that it was “unquestionably” violating the spirit of the agreement with its ongoing nefarious activity. After the sanctions followed a day later, Iran began signaling that it saw them as violations of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian President Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared to explicitly suggest that Iran may withdraw from the nuclear deal if the U.S. continues to sanction the regime and discourage Western investment, saying in a Monday interview, “Iran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal.”

President Donald Trump is reportedly angry with Iran, and nearly demurred on re-certifying the country’s compliance with the deal. Trump did so on the condition that the U.S. develop a new regional strategy to counter Iran’s nefarious behavior.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Naurt announced the comprehensive review Tuesday and said “during the course of this review, the United States will continue to aggressively counter Iran’s malign activities in the region.” She conceded in the announcement that, during the review, the U.S. “will continue to comply with its commitments” under the nuclear agreement.

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Saagar Enjeti