A top Iranian military official says Iran is providing weapons to so-called "liberation armies" in the Middle East. The assertion was made by Hossein Hamedani, deputy commander of the Basij militia, a volunteer unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, and it was reported on a state-run website.
It was the first time that an Iranian official admitted Iran was providing weapons to armed groups. In the past, Iran has claimed it gives only moral or political support to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
For years the U.S. has charged Iran with supplying weapons to terrorists in other countries. It is the reason why the State Department in its annual terrorism report said Iran remains "the most active state sponsor of terrorism."
Dell Dailey, Coordinator of the Office for Counterterrorism at the State Department, outlined Iran's support for terrorism. "Iran provides aid to Palestinian terrorist groups, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq-based militants, and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan," said Mr. Dailey. "Despite its pledge to support the stabilization of Iraq, Iranian authorities continue to provide lethal support, including weapons, training, funding, and guidance to some Iraqi militant groups that target coalition and Iraqi security forces and Iraqi civilians."
In addition, the terrorism report notes that Iran remains unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaida members it has detained, and it has failed to control the activities of some al-Qaida members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Without state sponsors like Iran, terrorist groups would have much greater difficulty in obtaining the means to carry out the violent acts they devise -- often against civilian targets -- to impose their political will. What makes Iran's support for terrorism of greatest concern is that Iran has the capability to manufacture weapons of mass destruction that could be diverted to the terrorists Iran sponsors, and in some cases, directs.