Amid protests, President Trump has claimed that the Iranian government is a state sponsor of terrorism and, in the process, has sided with the protesters. However, some sophisticates and democratic Congressmen have argued that this narrative, commonly associated with the Republican party, is hardly rational, as the last major Iran-sponsored terror attack in the US occurred over 20 years ago. With both sides professing to know the truth about Iran, it becomes difficult to learn the facts. With that in mind, this article will discuss the facts about Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism.
In a recent letter to speaker Paul Ryan, Rex Tillerson stated that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and that Trump was deciding whether to continue sanctioning Iran. Tillerson is a known Republican, and Trump has proven himself to be a classical conservative, so for some this would be a clear indication of worldview bias instead of a status quo statement. However, recent analyses have concluded that Iran has funded multiple Islamist Extremist groups and other terror groups for years. The most recent of these analyses is the 2016 State Department report.
In this report, the State Department surmised that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism:
"In 2016, Iran supported various Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hizballah, as part of an effort to fight ISIS in Iraq and bolster the Assad regime in Syria. Iran views the Assad regime in Syria as a crucial ally and Syria and Iraq as crucial routes to supply weapons to Hizballah, Iran’s primary terrorist partner."
In addition, they further asserted that:
"Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has supplied Hizballah with thousands of rockets, missiles, and small arms, in direct violation of UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1701. Iran provides the majority of financial support for Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran."
The State Department is not alone in their assessment. Melissa G. Dalton of the Center for Strategic and International Studies testified before Congress that Iran has a sophisticated threat network bolstered by funding from both the Iranian government and sectors of economy. In her testimony, she stated that Iran’s government purposely participates in “a range of coercive activities, from developing missiles and engaging in provocative maritime activities, to supporting proxies and terrorist groups, and exploiting cyber vulnerabilities while employing psychological and information operations.”
In addition, Colin P. Clarke of the Rand Corporation, echoed Dalton’s thoughts in a 2014 commentary piece titled “How Global Terror Network Will Get a Boost from Iran Nuclear Deal.” In his commentary, Clarke provides a more in-depth summary of the Iranian Threat Network, writing that Iran funds both Hezbollah and Hamas. Additionally, he explained that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is training sectarian militias in Yemen and Iraq.
In addition to training and funding terror groups, Clarke wrote that Iran began bolstering its cyber division and has successfully hacked US servers and destroyed sensitive information.
In light of these facts, Trump is right to praise the protesters of Iran’s terrorist regime. Any group of people fighting radical Islamic terrorism (which Iran funds) should be recognized for their efforts, no matter how monumental or insignificant. In addition, the protesters are also protesting Iran’s oppressive regime and strict adherence to the Quran, which makes them on the side of freedom. In all, countries deciding to ignore Iran and focus on Donald Trump’s praise of protesters are choosing to ignore terrorism. Iran has been, and currently is, against the United States. Regardless of what Donald Trump said of the protesters, Iran will continue to fund and train Islamic militants and terror groups to extirpate the western world.
About the Author: John Paluska graduated from Regent University with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and a minor in Theology. He founded the social media news aggregation platform Soaker News in 2012 and has previously worked for Amplify Communications to boost publicity for the American History Film Project. John is an Orthodox Anglican and loves reading the bible and writing about politics and culture through the lense of Christianity.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: January 3, 2018