This week the US State Department released its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2009,” which includes details on state sponsors of terrorism, of which Iran is obviously at the forefront.
We have pasted the entire section on Iran below, but will preface it with a few comments. Much of the report is a rehash of last year’s report and, unfortunately, this is a pattern we have noticed in this State Department report for some time now. Very few new facts seem to emerge from this report and the language is quite similar from year to year.
All one has to do to see this is to check these three links from the 2009, 2008 and 2007 reports (in that order). The facts presented are all the same and the language is very similar:
This calls into question how much work and thought actually goes into this report in the first place. It is a disservice to the American people to regurgitate the same information year after year and it is difficult to regard such a report as authoritative under such circumstances.
There is one aspect of the report’s section on Iran that frankly cannot be emphasized enough:
Iran has given weaponry, training and funding to Sunni terrorist organizations for years. Two primary examples are HAMAS and the Taliban.
The quaint notion that Shia Iran does not sponsor Sunni Jihadist terrorist organizations is one which we cannot afford to allow to persist.
When someone tells you that Iran would never aid a Sunni terrorist organization because of the Sunni-Shia divide, that is a sure sign that they don’t have the slightest idea what they are talking about.
Speaking of Sunni terrorist groups, the State Department continues to be in denial about Iran’s relationship with Al Qaeda. They have basically kept the same language about Iran and Al Qaeda for years now, with no further information or intelligence at all. The boys and girls at Foggy Bottom insist that Iran’s connection to Al Qaeda doesn’t go any further than Iran keeping Al Qaeda members and their families under house arrest. This flies in the face of numerous reports and piles of evidence, including details disclosed way back during the 9-11 Commission Report:
Perhaps when the State Department wonks get a notion in their heads, they don’t want to alter that notion for fear of being shown to have been wrong in the first place. Who really knows, but the year to year copy and paste job that State does on this report is unprofessional and, were it done this way in the private sector, the authors would be told to go back and start again and not to come back with another rehash of last year’s report…
Nevertheless, here is the official US State Department view on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism during 2009:
Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s financial, material, and logistic support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf and undermined the growth of democracy.
Iran remained the principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the Middle East Peace Process. The Qods Force, the external operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad. Iran 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). Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support to Lebanese Hizballah and has trained thousands of Hizballah fighters at camps in Iran. Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has assisted Hizballah in rearming, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
Iran’s Qods Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons. Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives.
Despite its pledge to support the stabilization of Iraq, Iranian authorities continued to provide lethal support, including weapons, training, funding, and guidance, to Iraqi Shia militant groups that targeted U.S. and Iraqi forces. The Qods Force continued to supply Iraqi militants with Iranian-produced advanced rockets, sniper rifles, automatic weapons, and mortars that have killed Iraqi and Coalition Forces, as well as civilians. Iran was responsible for the increased lethality of some attacks on U.S. forces by providing militants with the capability to assemble explosively formed penetrators that were designed to defeat armored vehicles. The Qods Force, in concert with Lebanese Hizballah, provided training outside of Iraq and advisors inside Iraq for Shia militants in the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device technology and other advanced weaponry.
Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. Iran has repeatedly resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its AQ detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for trial; it is reportedly holding Usama bin Ladin’s family members under house arrest.
Senior IRGC, IRGC Qods Force, and Iranian government officials were indicted by the Government of Argentina for their alleged roles in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the Argentine-Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA); according to the Argentine State Prosecutor’s report, the attack was initially proposed by the Qods Force. In 2007, INTERPOL issued a “red notice” for six individuals wanted in connection to the bombing. One of the individuals, Ahmad Vahidi, was named as Iran’s Defense Minister in August 2009.