Iran remained the world's "most active" state sponsor of terrorism as it tries to build regional influence and drive the United States from the Middle East, a US government report said Wednesday.
The report also listed Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Sudan as state sponsors and said Al-Qaeda and associates "remained the greatest terrorist threat" to the West partly by using a "safe haven" in Pakistan's tribal areas.
"Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism," according to the US State Department annual report which also called it the "most significant" state sponsor.
It said non-Arab Iran provides aid to Palestinian "terrorist" groups like Hamas, the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, "Iraq-based militants," and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the report said.
Iran aided such groups to advance their "common regional goals," according to the 2007 "Country Reports on Terrorism."
The report singled out "elements" of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as being directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts throughout the region.
"A critically important element of Iranian national security strategy is its ability to conduct terrorist operations abroad," the report said.
The aim is to protect itself by "deterring United States or Israeli attacks, distracting and weakening the United States, enhancing Iran's regional influence through intimidation, and helping to drive the United States from the Middle East," it said.
It said Iran is a threat both to regional stability and US interests in the region because it backs groups that reject the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and "undercut the democratic process in Lebanon," it said.
In Lebanon, the goal is "to build Iran's and Hezbollah's influence to the detriment of other Lebanese communities," it added.
"Without state sponsors, terrorist groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations," the report said.
"More worrisome is that some of these countries also have the capability to manufacture weapons of mass destruction that could get into the hands of terrorists," it added.
"Sudan continued to take significant steps to cooperate in the War on Terror. Cuba, Iran, and Syria, however, have not renounced terrorism or made efforts to act against Foreign Terrorist Organizations," it said.
"Iran and Syria routinely provided safe haven, substantial resources, and guidance to terrorist organizations," it said.
It said North Korea "was not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987" but it still "harbored four Japanese Red Army members who participated in a jet hijacking in 1970."
The State Department 2006 report also listed Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan as state sponsors of terrorism.
The report also said "Al-Qaeda and associated networks remained the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners in 2007."
It added that Al-Qaeda has "reconstituted some" of the operational capabilities it had before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington by exploiting Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
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