What Obama Didn't Mention in Counterterror Speech: Iran, Hezbollah Activity Surging Worldwide
"Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict, Iran has assisted in rearming Hizballah, in direct violation of UNSCR 1701. Iran has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Hizballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of Hizballah fighters at camps in Iran. Iran actively supported members of the Houthi tribe in northern Yemen, including activities intended to build military capabilities, which could pose a greater threat to security and stability in Yemen and the surrounding region," the report continues.
And while the administration touts looming al-Qaeda defeat in Pakistan, the report makes clear that the Sunni terror group has a home and a friend in Shiite Iran.
"Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qa’ida (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. Iran allowed AQ facilitators Muhsin al-Fadhli and Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and to Syria. Al-Fadhli is a veteran AQ operative who has been active for years. Al-Fadhli began working with the Iran-based AQ facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by Iranian authorities. He was released in 2011 and assumed leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network."
The State Department's assessment came a day after Alberto Nisman, Special Prosecutor for the 1994 attack on the Argentina Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, released a 500-page indictment accusing Tehran of reaching its tentacles deep into several Latin American countries to plan and orchestrate terror attacks.
Eighty-five people were killed in the AMIA suicide bombing. As cardinal in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis led a charge on the 11th anniversary of the attack to discover and bring the attackers to justice. The following year, in 2006, prosecutors accused Iran and Hezbollah of being behind the bombing.
Two candidates running in Iran's presidential election this year, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati, stand accused of planning the bombing. Rezai, currently Iran's secretary of the Expediency Council, is wanted by Interpol in the case.
"This report shows clearly that the 1994 AMIA bombing was not an isolated event, but rather that it was part of a larger and still ongoing scheme by the Iranian regime and its proxies to expand their influence in the Western Hemisphere and threaten U.S. security interests in the region," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said today of the indictment.
“This indictment reaffirms the fact that Iran’s dual use of diplomatic and cultural offices is utilized to deepen its infiltration into the Hemisphere," she added. "In particular, the indictment implicates the fugitive Mohsen Rabbani, the mastermind behind the AMIA bombing, as the primary coordinator of Iran’s nefarious activities in the region."
The indictment notes as another example of Iran's reach the 2010 conviction of two Guyanese men for conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack on JFK airport in New York.
"These are sleeper cells. They have activities you wouldn't imagine," Nisman said when he unveiled his indictment, backed up by a massive file of evidence. "Sometimes they die having never received the order to attack."
Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, invited Nisman to come to Washington "to educate Congress and this administration on the real threats that Iran and its proxies pose to the U.S. and our hemisphere."
"I urge this administration and all responsible nations in the region to dedicate their law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts to rooting out this grave threat once and for all," she added.