The United States has once again named Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, accusing it of fueling conflicts and undermining governments throughout the Middle East.
An annual survey on global terrorism, released by the State Department on September 19, said Iran and its proxies are responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in the region.
"Designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2017, including support for Lebanese Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East," the report said.
The survey said that Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force to provide support to terrorist organizations, provide cover for associated covert operations, and create instability in the region.
The Iranian government maintains a robust offensive cyberprogram and has sponsored cyberattacks against foreign government and private sector entities, the State Department report said.
The survey also reported a 24 percent decrease in terrorist attacks around the world between 2016 and 2017.
It was mostly due to a sharp decline in the number of attacks in Iraq, where the Islamic State (IS) extremist group was largely defeated by government and international coalition forces.
However, the report noted that members of the group have dispersed from the Middle East and are surfacing with their own operations and networks elsewhere, including in Southeast Asia.
Last year, IS operatives conducted attacks in Britain, Spain, Egypt, the United States, and the Philippines, the report said.
It also pointed out that IS is also threatening China and Chinese interests around the world, after some Chinese nationals joined the group.