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U.S. Says Iran Backing Terrorism More

Washington says Iran is increasing its support for global terrorism to a level not seen for two decades.

The accusation is a key finding of the U.S. State Department’s 2012 country reports on terrorism, which were issued on May 30.

The report concludes that the United States is "facing a more decentralized and geographically dispersed terrorist threat."

It says in Iran, 2012 saw a "resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism" through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), its Intelligence and Security Ministry, and Tehran’s ally in Lebanon, the Hizballah movement.

It linked Iran to terrorist attacks plotted in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa, and said Iran provided "a broad range of support to the Assad regime as it continues its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people."

Other key findings of the report are that Pakistan has seen the core of its Al-Qaeda terrorist network continue to weaken – with its leaders focused increasingly on survival while their ability to direct attacks diminishes.

The report says the global counterterrorism picture has been complicated by “tumultuous events in the Middle East and North Africa.” But it also says the core leadership of Al-Qaeda is "on a path to defeat," and notes that two of its most dangerous affiliates – in Yemen and Somalia – "suffered significant setbacks" in 2012.

The government of Azerbaijan "actively opposed terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money, and material through the Caucasus," the report says, and praises the government for continuing to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts.

Bosnia-Herzegovina increased its cooperation on international terrorism issues in 2012, according to the report, but faced domestic hurdles that included budget woes and "a fragmented security and law-enforcement sector." Islamic extremist groups remained a threat throughout the region.

Russia faced terror threats mainly due to the instability in the North Caucasus, where separatists and violent Islamic extremists continue to push for “a pan-Islamic caliphate” within the Caucasus. The report noted that information sharing on terrorism-related threats between Washington and Moscow improved during 2012.

In Iraq, the report found little change in terrorist tactics from 2011, with Al-Qaeda in Iraq still relying on suicide bombings and roadside bombs. It also noted that the Iraqi police, federal police, and Iraqi Army cooperated on a major counterterrorism operation that led to the arrest of more than 350 people on terrorism charges and the seizure of several weapon and rocket caches.

Afghanistan continued to experience “aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, and other Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, the report said. It noted that the number of insider attacks increased "significantly" over 2011, and 2012 saw some of the largest vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks since 2001.

The U.S. Country Reports On Terrorism are required by law to be delivered to Congress every year.

This was the first year the report was prepared by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland and not the National Counterterrorism Center. Because of that, the State Department said "the statistics in this report are not directly comparable with data from previous reports."

Based on RFE/RL and AP reporting