Washington: The US on Wednesday said Iran continues to be the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism along with Sudan and Syria.
All the three countries have been on this list of the US for the past several decades.
Iran was designated as state sponsor of terrorism in 1984 and Sudan in 1993. Syria was designated as state sponsor of terrorism way back in 1979.
In its annual report to the Congress, the State Department alleged that the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad continued its political and military support to a variety of terrorist groups affecting the stability of the region as the Syrian conflict entered its sixth year.
The regime continued to provide political and weapons support to Hezbollah and continued to allow Iran to rearm the terrorist organisation, it said.
The Assad regime’s relationship with Hezbollah and Iran grew stronger in 2016 as the regime became more reliant on external actors to militarily fight the Syrian opposition, it said.
Iran, the report alleged, continued its terrorist-related activity in 2016, including support for Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout West Asia.
Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in West Asia, it alleged.
According to the State Department, in 2016, Iran supported various Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hizballah, as part of an effort to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and bolster the Assad regime in Syria.
Iran has historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, the report alleged.
The report indicated that Sudan, which was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993 due to concerns about support to international terrorist groups, including the Abu Nidal Organization, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah, could be taken off the list.
"Notwithstanding this history, countering terrorism is today a national security priority for Sudan, and Sudan is a cooperative partner of the United States on counter-terrorism, despite its continued presence on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List," the State Department said.
"Sudan takes seriously the threat posed by Islamic State, and in September 2016, the US government acknowledged the Government of Sudan’s significant efforts to counter the Islamic State and other terrorist groups and to prevent their movement into and through Sudan. Earlier, in June 2016, a senior US official praised Sudan for its counter-terrorism efforts as well,” the report said.
To designate a country as a state sponsor of terrorism, the secretary of state must determine that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.
Once a country is designated, it remains a state sponsor of terrorism until the designation is rescinded in accordance with statutory criteria.
A wide range of sanctions are imposed as a result of a state sponsor of terrorism designation, including a ban on arms-related exports and sales; controls over exports of dual-use items, prohibitions on economic assistance; and imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.
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Updated Date: Jul 19, 2017 22:32:03 IST