In its most recent report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department cites ISIL, or Da’esh, as the greatest global terrorist threat. Even though ISIL lost a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2015, ISIL retains a formidable force, and has shown the capacity to carry out deadly plots beyond the region, and to inspire allegiance from other terror groups across the world.
Also, while core al-Qaida has been severely degraded, its branches and affiliates still pose a danger and were responsible for a number of high-profile, mass-casualty attacks in 2015.
But ISIL and al-Qaida are not the only terrorist threats facing the world. “Iran,” as U.S. Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell said at a press briefing, “remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism globally:”
“Iran continues to provide support to Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Confronting Iran’s destabilizing activities and its support for terrorism was a key element of our expanded dialogue with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, following the leaders’ summit at Camp David in May of last year.”
The State Department also reports that Iran’s destructive behavior is not confined to the Middle East. Acting Coordinator Siberell said that Iran’s destabilizing activity in the western hemisphere remains a high priority for the United States, andthat the United States has expanded cooperation with partners in South America, as well as in Europe and West Africa, to implement strategies to counter the activities of Iranian-allied and sponsored groups.
In recent testimony before Congress, Acting Treasury Undersecretary Adam Szubin called the JCPOA, the nuclear deal reached last year between Iran, the EU, and the P5+1 countries, “a tremendous breakthrough” that “represents a peaceful solution to one of the world’s most serious nuclear threats.” At the same, time, he pointed out that outside of the nuclear file, the United States has maintained all of its sanctions designed to counter Iran’s malign activities.
“Ultimately, said Undersecretary Szubin, “we have been and will remain clear-eyed about the nature of the threat posed by Iran, and we will continue to combat these threats using the range of tools at our disposal.”