Despite the fact that Iran’s global terror activities were “undiminished” between 2013 and 2014, the U.S. State Department is still entirely committed to pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran.
“We think it’s essential that we pursue those negotiations,” said Tina Kaidanow, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal. “None of that implies that we would be, again, in any way taking our eye off the ball with respect to what Iran is doing as a supporter of terrorism.”
Iran’s support for terror was documented in the State Dept.’s annual report on global terrorism, which was released Friday. The report says “Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished,” which makes the State Dept. “very, very concerned,” according to Kaidanow.
While the June 30 deadline for the deal is now fewer than 10 days away, the release of the report shows, “Iran continued to sponsor terrorist groups around the world," according to Kaidanow.
The report specifically mentions Iran’s continued support for the Shiite terror organization Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as those fighting with embattled Syrian President Bashaar al-Assad.
The Clarion Project reported last week that Iran is supporting more than 100 terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq alone.
In an interview with The Atlantic, U.S. President Barack Obamas admitted that some of the money freed up the deal’s proposed sanction relief may up going towards terrorism, although he argued that Iranian government would have to make good on their commitments to improve the country’s economy.
“I don’t think …anybody in this administration said that no money will go to the military as a consequence of sanctions relief,” Obama said. “The question is, if Iran has $150 billion parked outside the country, does the IRGC automatically get $150 billion? Does that $150 billion then translate by orders of magnitude into their capacity to project power throughout the region? And that is what we contest …”
The report also showed that between 2013 and 2014, there was a significant rise in global terror attacks, causing an increase in over 80 percent of violent deaths from the previous year (which itself had seen a 43 percent increase from the year before). In addition, the report showed:
- There was an average of 1,122 attacks per month
- Kidnappings increased by one-third, with more than with 9,400 people taken hostage
- The number of global attacks rose by 35 percent
- 32,727 people were killed worldwide (versus 17,800 in 2013)
- 34,700 people were injured in attacks in close to 95 countries
- In Iraq alone, 10,000 people died in 3,360 attacks representing close to a third of all people killed in terror attacks worldwide