Neta Bar and Yoni Hersch
The U.S. State Department recently published an unprecedented report detailing the financial resources Iran invests in destabilizing the Middle East.
The report estimated that over the past six years, the Islamic republic has spent some $16 billion to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and fund Iranian-backed militias across the Arab world.
Assad has so far received about $4.6 billion from Tehran, which also gives its largest regional proxy, Lebanon-based Hezbollah, more than $700 million a year, in addition to supporting other militias in Iraq and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
According to the 48-page report, the Gaza Strip-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups have receives upwards of $100 million from Iran in recent years.
“We know that Iran uses its economic revenues to finance terrorism. There is no country in the world that sponsors and supports terrorism more than Iran,” said a State Department official.
The report also touched on Iran’s ballistic-missile program, saying that for years, Tehran has been violating the international restrictions imposed on it and has been delivering ballistic missiles to the Houthis.
The report urges the international community to join forces in an effort to counter the Islamic republic’s ballistic-missile program.
“The United States will continue with its aggressive sanctions policy against Iran, as the president has instructed,” the report said.
The cyber threat posed by Iran was also discussed at length in the report.
“Iran’s cyber efforts undermine and endanger international norms for free and open use of the internet,” it said, adding that there is clear evidence linking Iran to cyber-attacks on government and commercial sites in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“The policy President Trump has laid out comes to terms fully with the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not a normal state,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in the introduction to the report.
“It is important for the world to understand the scope of the regime’s recklessness and malfeasance. … We will engage with any nation prepared to take a stand with us against the chaos and brutality that Iran imposes on its citizens and spreads in spades around the world,” stressed Pompeo. “We know many countries share our concerns and our yearnings for a more secure and stable Middle East, as well as a freer Iran. We encourage nations and businesses across the world to examine the record enclosed here, and answer the call to address the challenge of Iran head-on.”