Iran: U.S. Lacks Credibility, Jurisdiction in Judging Them ‘Leading Sponsor of Terrorism’
Iran remains the most active state sponsor of “terrorism”, a US state department report has said.
The report, entitled Country Reports on Terrorism, was released on Thursday and accused Iran of involvement in planning and financing support of attacks throughout the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia.
It said Iran’s activities had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, economic stability in the Gulf region and undermined the growth of democracy.
“The Quds Force, an elite branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad,” the report said.
“The Quds Force provided aid in the form of weapons, training and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq-based militants and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.”
Manuchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, said: “The US, for all it has done in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo jails, doesn’t have the authority nor the capacity to give opinions or accusations about other countries.”
The report is released annually and the US law requires the secretary of state to make it available to congress by April. >>>
In response to a US annual report accusing Iran of sponsoring terrorism, Tehran questions Washington’s jurisdiction in passing judgment on other countries.
In its annual report on terrorism released on Thursday, the US State Department repeated old accusations against the Islamic Republic, labeling it “the most significant state sponsor of terrorism.”
“Iran has long employed terrorism to advance its key national security and foreign policy interests, which include regime survival, regional dominance, opposition to Arab-Israeli peace, and countering western influence, particularly in the Middle East,” the report stated.
The Thursday report also accuses Iran of ‘clandestinely’ supporting terrorists, as well as what the US describes as Islamic militant groups abroad, including Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and militants in Iraq by providing weapons, training and financial support.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who was in Cuba to attend a Non-aligned Movement (NAM) meeting, responded to the allegations at a press conference on Thursday. He said that the US was not in a position to judge other countries.
“The US, because of everything that has been done in the Guantanamo prison and for its support of Israel, racism and occupation, has no jurisdiction to accuse other countries [of sponsoring terrorism],” Mottaki said.
Currently, 241 prisoners are being held at the notorious detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, many without standing trail. US President Barack Obama has promised to shut down the prison and has banned torture; the prison remains open.
“The policy of double standards of the United States is known to the world. Therefore, the US has nothing new to say,” the Iranian official added.
Washington is still pursuing a dual-track strategy of carrots and sticks with Tehran over its nuclear work despite US President Barack Obama’s claim of a ‘new beginning’ with the Iranian government.
The US accusations against Iran were spearheaded by former president George W. Bush who called Iran ‘the axis of evil,’ labeling Tehran the main sponsor of terrorism.
Iran, however, has on several occasions defended itself against the allegations, saying Tehran surely benefits the security in the region.
Tehran calls ‘moral’ its support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Palestinian nation and the democratically-elected government of Hamas.
Iranian officials have also welcomed fighting terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan, which they say has jeopardized the security of the whole region, spreading beyond the Afghan borders.
Iran earlier said it was devising a plan to help the recovery of war-torn Afghanistan which grapples with insecurity despite the seven-year presence of more than 65,000 US-led forces in the country.
According to the United Nations, more than 2,000 Afghan civilians were killed throughout 2008 in operations by foreign forces.
The accusations against Iran’s support of the Taliban comes while according to the former US special envoy to Kabul, James Dobbin, “few countries were as helpful to the United States — in its early involvement in Afghanistan — as Iran.”
Former National Security Council official, Flynt Leverett, has also acknowledged Iran’s help in stemming Afghan violence.
“Washington’s engagement with Tehran over Afghanistan provided significant and tangible benefits for the American position during the early stages of the war on terror.”
The occupation of Iraq, Iran’s neighbor, has prompted Iranian officials to openly denounce the US presence in the oil-rich country which has been the witness of violence since its invasion in 2003.
Iran, a vocal critic of Israel, also blames the US for its support of Tel Aviv, which has been accused of committing war crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during a three-week attack starting in December.
Apart from blocking over 40 anti-Israeli resolutions sought by the Security Council since 1972, Washington also used its power in vetoing three UNSC resolutions on the recent Gaza war, which left nearly 1,400 people dead.
At the height of the war, the US also abstained from voting on a non-binding resolution which called for an ‘immediate and durable’ ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the region.
Fidel Castro says Washington wants Cuba to act like a slave, criticizing the US for not removing Havana from a list of countries that support terrorism.
On Thursday, the US State Department issued a report on terrorism in which Cuba remained on the list of countries regarded as “state sponsors of terrorism.”
In response, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected the accusation, saying, “I don’t think anybody reads those documents… because they know that the author (US) is an international criminal in many of the issues it criticizes.”
After the Obama administration tried to restore relations between the two countries, there had been speculation Cuba would be taken off the list.
Later, former Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday replied in an article that the United States wants to rule the world.
“They are willing to forgive us if we will resign ourselves to returning to the fold as slaves that, after knowing freedom, will accept again the whip and the yoke,” wrote Castro.
“The adversary should never be under the illusion that Cuba will surrender,” he added.
The United States and Cuba do not have diplomatic relations, and the US has kept a trade embargo against the nation for 47 years.
President Barack Obama insists on maintaining the embargo against the island, saying Cuba must first implement what the US deems as political reforms including releasing political prisoners and improving human rights.
This is while Washington has long been under fire for the treatment of the prisoners across the glob such as Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay and Iraq’s Abu Ghraib.
Despite the Obama’s order for closure of the notorious detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, there are still 240 prisoners without charges.
“We are not arsonists as some imagine, but nor are we idiots easily fooled by those who believe the only things important in the world are the laws of the market and the capitalist system of production,” Castro explained.
“There still exist those who have the illusion that people can be manipulated like puppets,” he noted.
Whereas United States President Barack Obama promised in his new year message to Iran that he was committed to a new diplomacy that “will not be advanced by threats”, a month later this is precisely what is happening. This is in light of new White House-backed legislation in the US Congress that aims to impose “crippling sanctions” on Iran by targeting its energy imports.
The Iran Sanctions Enhancement Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of US senators, states in its preamble that its purpose is “to enhance US diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by expanding economic sanctions against Iran to include refined petroleum, and for other purposes”.
Before adopting this bill, Congress ought to pause and think more seriously about the likely adverse results lest it gets implemented and, indeed, it causes significant disruption in the Iranian economy. In that case, Iran would retaliate where it could in the region by threatening US interests where they are the weakest, hardly a fulfillment of Obama’s current quest to enlist Iran on regional security.
The United Nations has already imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, which many say is geared towards building a nuclear bomb, although Tehran has consistently maintained that its enrichment of uranium is for peaceful purposes and in accordance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The US has also imposed sanctions unilaterally. >>>