Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

US tags Iran anew as top terror sponsor, global attacks fall

US tags Iran anew as top terror sponsor, global attacks fall

The threats posed by Iran's support for terrorism are not confined to the Middle East; they are truly global, he asserted.

In addition to data on Iran, the report also discusses "a number of major strides that the United States and our global partners made to defeat and degrade terrorist organizations in 2017", including work "with allies and partners around the world to expand information sharing, improve aviation security, enhance law enforcement and rule of law capacities, and to counter terrorist radicalization with a focus on preventing recruitment and recidivism".

The number of violent incidents also declined in 2016 from the previous year.

The report comes as the Trump administration is toughening its stance against Iran. European firms, especially those from France and Germany, rushed to invest in Iran following the 2015 accord, under which Tehran agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for an end to punishing worldwide sanctions.

However, despite these battlefield successes, U.S. officials have warned that the IS was still well positioned to make a comeback in the region.

Nathan Sales, the department's coordinator for counter-terrorism, said Iran-linked fundraising networks in West Africa, weapons caches in South America, and operational activity in Europe show the Islamic Republic "has no reservations about using [terrorism] on any continent".

The report specifically cited the activities of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guard, who helped organise Iraqi militias against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

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However, Iran has constantly maintained that its activities support oppressed people throughout the Middle East. The report said Iranian fighters and Iran-backed militias, like Lebanon's Hezbollah, had emerged emboldened from the war in Syria and with valuable battlefield experience they seek to leverage elsewhere.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the number of deaths caused by terrorist attacks declined 89 percent since 2013, commensurate with decreasing numbers of attacks, the report revealed.

Nearly 59 per cent of all terrorist attacks in 2017 took place in five Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, a USA report said today.

However, despite these many successes, the terrorist landscape grew more complex in 2017, he said.

As IS lost territory, the group became "dispersed and clandestine, turning to the internet to inspire attacks by distant followers", which has made the group "less susceptible to conventional military action", the report said.

It has largely remained out of the headlines in recent years as it has been content to let ISIS bear the brunt of the worldwide response, but one shouldn't confuse that period of relative quiet with Al Qaeda's abandonment of its capabilities or intentions to strike the USA and its allies, Mr Sales said.

US State Department on Thursday has issued its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for the year 2017.

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