Iran rejects terrorism leading charges in US annual report

Iran rejects terrorism leading charges in U.S. report

Iran rejected terrorism charges raised against it in an annual U.S. State Department report, Iranian media outlets reported on Sunday, saying the Islamic Republic merely supported nations fighting for freedom.

State TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari as saying the report is “false” and further evidence of the “lack of credibility of reports by the U.S. State Department.”

“The legitimate struggle of nations which are occupied … are not examples of terrorism, and such charges in the American report are rejected,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

As in many previous years, the report identified Iran as the world’s “foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015” through its financing, training and equipping of various armed groups, notably Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as well as the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Ansari in turn condemned “U.S. military interferences and destructive support for terrorist groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen”, the agency said.

Ansari said the U.S. provides “unconditional” support for Israel as it deprives the Palestinians of basic rights and that Washington ignores the role of allies like Saudi Arabia in supporting extremist groups.

The report said that despite reaching a landmark agreement with world powers on its nuclear program, Iran continued to use the Quds Force of its Revolutionary Guard to create instability throughout the Middle East.

In addition to arming Hezbollah and the Assad government, Iran also provided weapons and other assistance to militants in Bahrain and remained active in supporting anti-Israel groups such as Hamas, the report said.

Iran is also widely suspected of helping Houthi militia in Yemen, who are the root cause of the current Yemen Crisis, although the report did not mention the alleged connection. Iran denies backing the rebels, saying it has only provided humanitarian aid to Yemen.

The U.S. global terrorism report said on Thursday that the number of terrorist attacks around the world declined last year for the first time since 2012, and that such attacks were becoming more decentralized and diffuse.