The US State Department released its annual report on global terrorist activity on Thursday, listing Iran as the top state sponsor of terrorism and labeling the Islamic State as “the greatest threat globally” and a “formidable force” in Iraq and Syria.
“Iran remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training and equipment, to groups around the world,” the State Department report read.
The report listed Sudan and Syria as the other two state sponsors of terrorism, and included a 2015 tally of 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 countries worldwide, resulting in more than 28,300 total deaths and more than 35,300 people injured.
Iran uses the unit “to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations and create instability in the Middle East,” the report overview read.
In Iraq and Syria, Iran has dispatched the Quds force, together with Hezbollah, to provide funding, training and advisers for Shiite militants, primarily Iraqi Shiite terror group Kata’ib Hezbollah, of which many members have fought alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, according to the report.
In an effort to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State, which controls swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, Iran has bolstered these groups, many of whom “have exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians,” the report read.
While the report described the Islamic State as “the greatest threat globally,” it described a terror group in retreat with significant territorial losses in the second half of 2015.
Recent global attacks claimed by the Islamic State and its affiliates, including the Paris attacks in November which claimed 130 lives and the downing of the Russian plane over Sinai last October, “have been staged in an effort to assert a narrative of victory in the face of steady losses of territory in Iraq and Syria.”