The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on international terrorism. Once again, Iran tops the list as the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism." Frank Urbancic, acting coordinator of the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism, commented on Iran's role:
"Iran continues to threaten its neighbors. It continues to destabilize Iraq by providing weapons, training, advice and funding to select Iraqi militants. And as the president [George W. Bush] has said, some of the most powerful improvised explosive devices -– I-E-D's – that we are seeing now in Iraq today, include components that came from Iran."
According to the State Department report, over the past year, Iran's "Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals."
The report said, "Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli terrorist activity, rhetorically, operationally, and financially." Counterterrorism coordinator Urbancic said that the terrorist groups given "lethal assistance by Iran" – Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas – share a common goal:
"These all oppose reinvigorated Arab-Israeli peace efforts. Iranian defiance of U-N Security Council resolutions by providing weapons and assistance to Hezbollah demonstrates that Teheran continues to be the most dangerous enabler of terrorism in that region."
Cuba, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea were also designated state sponsors of terror. Such state sponsors, said Mr. Urbancic, "pose a potentially grave weapons of mass destruction threat. A W-M-D program in the hands of a state sponsor of terrorism could easily enable a terrorist organization to acquire sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. Thus," says Mr. Urbancic, "state sponsors of terrorism deserve special attention, and they are getting it."