Iran's Support for Terrorism Worldwide
Recent attention on Iran has focused on its nuclear weapons program--but this is not the whole picture.
Iran is also the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Using both its own military operatives and its proxy Hezbollah, Iran has planned attacks around the globe.
Iran has no problem sending members of its Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force to target Western interests abroad.
They also have their very own terrorist organization--Hezbollah--to do their bidding.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps funds, trains, arms, and directs Hezbollah, one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations.
Years ago Hezbollah was a limited, regional threat. Today, it is an international movement.
Right now, Hezbollah is most actively engaged in Syria.
With Iran's backing, Hezbollah supports the murderous Assad regime, which slaughters innocent Syrians every day.
Without Hezbollah, Assad would have been defeated. Instead, Iran has stayed in the fight and more than 140,000 lives have been lost.
Unfortunately, Iran and Hezbollah are not confined to attacks in the Middle East.
In Afghanistan, the Iranians provide arms and training to Taliban fighters who use them to kill U.S. and Afghan forces.
In Africa, Iran and Hezbollah have planned attacks in Nigeria, Sudan, and Kenya, and are expanding their terrorist and criminal networks in Senegal and Gambia.
In Europe, Iran has attempted to assassinate foreign diplomats and tourists.
A 2012 attack in Bulgaria killed six and injured 32 people. Other attacks were also planned in Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
The same has been true in Asia. Iran and Hezbollah have planned numerous plots in India and Thailand.
Perhaps most troubling is Iran's expansion into Latin America and the fact that our State Department denies it is happening to this very day.
Despite clear evidence that Hezbollah is colluding with drug organizations to launder money and gather support, the Obama Administration continues to downplay this threat.
Hezbollah uses Venezuela banks to launder hundreds of millions of dollars a year and smuggle narcotics to U.S. and European markets.
It has also conducted terrorist training on Margarita Island for recruits from Venezuela and other Latin American countries.
No one is safe, including Americans abroad and even here at home.In October 2011, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. was targeted in Washington, DC. There is strong evidence linking Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to this attack.
Anyone who hoped that the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would have stopped all this is wrong.
Like his predecessor, he continues to support terrorism.
Just last month Iran's parliament claimed that Hezbollah has ``tens of thousands'' of missiles prepared for a battle with Israel.
Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, described it best when he said the Iran-Hezbollah relationship was ``a partnership agreement, with the Iranians as the senior partner.''
International efforts to combat this expanding threat have improved, but still fall short of what needs to be done.
I commend the European Union for blacklisting Hezbollah's military wing, but they must understand that there are not two separate Hezbollahs.
There is one Hezbollah. The military wing and political wing are not separate. The entire organization needs to be sanctioned in order for those tools to really bite.
2014 marks the 30 year anniversary of Iran's placement on the State Department's "State Sponsors of Terrorism'' list.
This problem will only get worse if the Administration allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Clearly, it is time for the United States and its allies to develop a coherent and comprehensive plan to stop Iranian-backed terrorism.
We can start by renewing the sanctions on Iran rather than easing them. Iran only can be forced to do the right thing internationally because their moral code regarding right and wrong is amiss.
And that's just the way it is.