Iran: World’s biggest sponsor of terrorism


There is no doubt that Iran is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism and that it sponsors and finances terrorism around the world. This is not merely a viewpoint but a truth with undeniable evidence that cannot be circumvented. As former US president Ronald Reagan put it: “Facts are stubborn things.” Indeed they are, and in the points below I will list some of the facts:

First of all, the establishment of Hezbollah in Iran. In an attempt to export the revolution in the 1980s, Iranian ambassadors to Syria, Ali Mohtashami and Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, stood behind the establishment of Hezbollah in Lebanon. This has been confirmed by the former Iranian ambassador to Damascus, Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, who stated that “Hezbollah, Hamas and Jihad are the legitimate offspring of the Iranian Revolution”. Despite the fact that Hezbollah is labeled a terrorist group by numerous countries including the United States, Britain, France, Canada, the Arab League and the GCC, Iran still provides it with logistic support in addition to $200 million of finance per year.

Secondly, the strategy of storming embassies. Over a period of four decades, starting with the Iran hostage crisis 36 years ago, up to the storming of the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran in 2016, a record number of attacks have been witnessed on embassies and foreign diplomatic missions in Iran. For example, the Saudi embassy in Iran was attacked in 1987, an attempt was made to set the French embassy on fire in 2006 and the British embassy was stormed in 2011. All these incidents are clear and explicit violations of all international norms and charters and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which guarantees the protection and security of diplomatic missions and their personnel.

Thirdly, forming and supporting sectarian militia. “The Revolutionary Guards have equipped 200,000 people with arms in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” according to the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari. Iran is trying to reproduce its experience in Lebanon in all countries of the region; it supports the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, Houthis in Yemen, and dozens of the militia fighting in Syria, Afghanistan and in other places. According to Haider Moslehi, former Iranian intelligence minister, Iran has control over four Arab capitals. This was confirmed by the statement of Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who said: “officials in Iran never expected such rapid spread of (Islamic Revolution) overseas to reach Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Bahrain, Yemen and Afghanistan”.

Fourthly, support for Al-Qaeda. Former adviser on Iran affairs at the US Treasury Department’s Bureau for the Financing of Terrorism and Financial Crimes, Katherine Bauer, said: “Iran-Al-Qaeda relations were established before 9/11. It served as a stopping place for facilitating the movement of the recruits and the funds of Al-Qaeda from North Asia to Syria and the Gulf in order to make their missions easy.”

“In addition to harboring many of Al-Qaeda’s leaders in Tehran, Iran is still involved in providing facilities to Al-Qaeda through the movement of its affiliates from Iran to different destinations,” she adds. Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir confirms that according to documented telephone records, the green light for the Riyadh bomb blast in 2003 was given by Saif Al-Adl, Commander of Al-Qaeda operations in Iran.

Fifthly, using their embassies around the world for espionage, terrorism and plotting conspiracies. Adel Al-Asadi, former Iranian Consul in Dubai, says that the role played by Iranian embassies, especially in the Gulf, is more of intelligence than of diplomacy; they recruit agents and turn them into terrorist cells against their own countries. Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, points out that “the operation control officer in the bombing on part of a US troops housing complex in Al-Khobar in 1996 was Major Gen. Sharifi, the Iranian military attaché in Bahrain. The bomb-maker was an affiliate of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the explosives came from Al-Beqa’ valley in Lebanon. Moreover, the three main commanders of the operation fled to Iran and have lived there ever since”.

There is evidence confirming this point including spy networks in Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE in 2011, Yemen in 2012, Saudi Arabia in 2013, and other networks working for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in other Arab and Muslim countries. Hence, instead of representing the Iranians residing in the host countries, defending their interests, and facilitating matters for Iranian citizens, Iranian diplomatic missions around the world have been transformed into centers of espionage, terrorism and plotting conspiracies.

Sixthly, assassination networks. In 2013, a report released by the Pentagon confirmed that Iranian intelligence has a network of tens of thousands of intelligence agents plotting assassinations abroad and suppressing the opposition at home. Iranian intelligence uses the most hazardous spy operations on earth including assassination plots, terrorist bombings and cyber war. Over the past four decades, Iran has pursued a systematic series of crimes against ambassadors and diplomats, as well as against its political opponents. Examples of this are: the plotting of an assassination in 2016 against the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, Thamer Al-Sabhan; involvement in the assassination of the Saudi diplomat, Hassan Al-Qahtani, in Karachi in 2001; plotting an assassination against the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, who was then the Saudi ambassador to the United States and involvement in the assassination of four Saudi diplomats in Thailand in 1989-1990. In 1985, Iran was also involved in plotting an assassination against Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah of Kuwait.

Finally, owing to its revolutionary policy, the Wilayat-e-Faqih has spent billions of dollars on military interventions, revolutionary bullying, terrorism support, and the building of terrorist cells while its people are suffering terrible levels of poverty, deprivation, and homelessness, with 11 million Iranian citizens living below the poverty line. These billions would, without doubt, have been better spent on development and securing the basic needs of its people!

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin is a Middle East affairs specialist and security analyst based in Riyadh. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @Alothaimin