The annual US State Department report on terrorism was released today, and as they have in other recent years, the State Department declared Iran to the “the world’s foremost” state sponsor of terrorism. The report accused Iran of “destabilizing” the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
This is an interesting region for the US to look for evidence of sponsoring terrorism, as Iran’s backing of militias in Syria and Iraq has chiefly been about fighting against ISIS, which the same US report confirmed was responsible for more terror attacks than anyone. The US and the Shi’ite militias have fought on the same side in Iraq for years, which makes the characterization of this as destabilizing, let alone terrorism, particularly odd.
The reality, however, is that as a matter of law there are only three “state sponsors of terrorism” in the world who would even be eligible for this report: Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Iran is the biggest of the three nations, so they inevitably end up the “top” of the list from the US perspective.
The Trump Administration has been particularly keen to emphasize this status for the sake of ratcheting up sanctions against Iran, trying to replace sanctions the US was obliged to lift over the P5+1 deal with new ones of different pretexts.
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