Iran is the leading world sponsor of terrorism, and Washington is urging more governments to designate Lebanon’s Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation, a US State Department official said yesterday.
The acting principal deputy co-ordinator for the Bureau of Counterterrorism, Chris Landberg, also said that ISIS was still growing and remained a “pervasive threat to the United States.”
“ISIS’s global presence continues to grow despite the complete liberation of territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria,” Landberg told legislators during a subcommittee hearing on counterterrorism efforts.
“Terrorist groups remain a persistent and pervasive threat to the United States, allies, and interests abroad. ISIS, (Al Qaeda), and their affiliates have proven to be resilient and determined, despite the significant progress we have made in degrading their ability to directly threaten the US homeland,” he said.
Multiple legislators raised the issue of Iran and its proxies across the world.
Landberg said the Counterterrorism Bureau had spearheaded a diplomatic campaign against Hizbollah, “urging governments to take steps to recognise the group in its entirety as a terrorist organisation and to restrict its activities in their countries.”
He said these efforts were proving productive, citing 14 countries from Europe, South and Central America in recent years that sanctioned, banned, or restricted Hizbollah from operating in their countries.
“Iran has been funding and arming its proxies – including with sophisticated technology – and enabling attacks across the region,” he said during his opening remarks.
Landberg said that other Iran-backed groups in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen continue to carry out dangerous and destabilising activity in the Middle East and the world.