Iran is the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism. As the leading funder of terrorist groups that operate throughout the Middle East and internationally, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aptly called Iran "the central bank for terrorism." If Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, the current threat it presents will increase dramatically. It will be that much harder to rein in the Iranian regime, and it is very likely that these weapons of mass destruction or the know-how to produce them could make their way into the hands of terrorists.
A Long History of Backing Terrorist Attacks Around the World. From the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis until today, Iran has sponsored acts of terrorism around the world. In 1992, for example, Iran worked with Hezbollah to bomb the Israeli embassy in Argentina, killing 29 people. Two years later, the Iranians orchestrated the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, an attack that killed 85 people. Iran also supported the 1996 truck bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American servicemen and wounded 500 more.
Iran Arms and Trains Iraqi Insurgents who Target American Soldiers. Iran provides money, weapons and training to several Shia militias operating in Iraq. Much of this assistance is provided by the Qods Force, an elite unit of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The United States government calls the Qods Force the "Iranian regime's primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists and Islamic militants to advance Iranian national interests.” The Qods Force has provided mortars, automatic weapons, advanced rockets, and sniper rifles to Iraqi militants. The Qods Force has also provided insurgents with explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of improvised explosive device that is specially designed to penetrate the armored vehicles used by our troops. Iranian forces, working together with Hezbollah, have trained Iraqi militants at several camps inside Iran. These militants then return to Iraq and share their new knowledge in what American officials describe as a "train-the-trainer" program. In August 2010, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq assessed that Iran-backed insurgents groups are responsible for about a quarter of the more than 4,400 U.S. deaths in Iraq.
Iran is Arming the Taliban.
The Qods Force also provides key support to the Taliban. In 2007, the Treasury Department stated that the Quds Forces is the "Iranian regime's primary instrument for providing lethal support to the Taliban", and it provides weapons and financial support to the Taliban to support anti-U.S. and anti-coalition activity in Afghanistan. Army General McChrystal, the former commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reported in May 2010 that there is clear evidence that some Taliban fighters have trained in Iran and received weaponry from Iranian forces.
For example, Iran has arranged several shipments of mortar rounds, plastic explosives, 107-millimeter rockets, rocket propelled grenades and small arms to the Taliban. These weapons are used to target American and coalition forces pursuing Osama Bin Laden and fighting in Afghanistan.
Major Supporter of Hezbollah. Iran helped found and organize Hezbollah and has provided crucial support to the terrorist group ever since. Hezbollah's leaders pledge their loyalty to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini who, in return, provides them with between $100 million and $200 million every year and arms them with thousands of short and long-range rockets. During Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006, 4,000 rockets were fired, killing more than 40 civilians and confining 1 million Israeli citizens in or near bomb shelters. In violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, Iran has helped Hezbollah re-arm in the aftermath of the war. The Qods Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), runs Hezbollah training camps in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley and more than 3,000 Hezbollah fighters have reportedly been trained at IRGC camps in Iran. Iran's support of Hezbollah threatens both Israel and the democratically elected government of Lebanon.
Backer of Palestinian Terrorist Groups. According to the U.S. State Department, Iran is a principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the Middle East Peace Process, and continues to maintain a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israel terrorist activity rhetorically, operationally, financially. Iran has provided at least $120 million to Hamas since 2006, and hundreds of Hamas fighters have reportedly been sent to Iran in the last three years for extensive weapons and tactics training at a Revolutionary Guard base in Tehran. According to one Hamas military commander, "Iran is our mother. She gives us information, military supplies and financial support." Hamas is not the only Palestinian beneficiary of Iran's largesse. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has received money from Iran for at least 15 years. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command has received funding from Iran for almost 20 years, and according to a Congressional report, has served in recent years as a leading conduit through which Iran provided weapons and materiel to Hamas and PIJ.
Iran Impedes the Pursuit of al-Qaeda Operatives. According to the State Department, Iran is unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaeda (AQ) members it has detained, and has refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. Iran has repeatedly resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its AQ detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for interrogation or trial. Iran also fails to control the activities of some AQ members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
In Mach 2010, Army General David H. Petraeus and commander of the U.S. Central Command, said al-Qaeda continues to use Iran as a key facilitation hub, where facilitators connect al Qaedas senior leadership to regional affiliates.
Through Hezbollah, Iran Directly Supports Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden forged a strategic partnership between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has received explosives from Iran and training from Hezbollah. Furthermore, Hezbollah leader and security expert Imad Mughniyeh inspired Osama to develop coordinated, simultaneous attacks as a regular modus operandi, and this has been the hallmark of most subsequent Al Qaeda operations, including 9/11 and the East Africa bombings. Both Hezbollah trainers and experts from Iran's Ministry of Information and Security trained Al Qaeda fighters in Sudan (in existing Al Qaeda facilities), Lebanon (in Hezbollah camps) and Iran (in officially run bases.