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US Allies Sponsoring Terror, Not Iran

Bahram QasemiBahram Qasemi

Iran's Foreign Ministry called on the United States to pressure its regional allies into abandoning their support for terrorism and not level "malicious" allegations against the Islamic Republic.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi made the statement on Saturday, reacting to earlier comments by US Defense Secretary James Mattis claiming that Iran continued to sponsor terror, Press TV reported.

"We urge the American officials to—instead of making unwarranted and malicious accusations against Iran—oblige some of the countries in the region that are friendly and close to the US and whose unwavering and widespread support for terrorist groups is clearly evident to halt their financial, ideological and military support for these terrorist-Takfiri outfits," Qasemi said. Washington's allies in the region, most notably Saudi Arabia, are accused of sponsoring terrorism—both materially and ideologically.

Takfirism, which is a characteristic of many terrorist groups operating in the region, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology practiced in Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi-sanctioned clerics.

Riyadh has also been a supporter of violent militants operating in conflict-ridden countries such as Syria and Iraq.

During a press conference in London on Friday, Mattis had said North Korea was the number-one threat to the US. He was then asked about his comments back in 2012, when he enumerated the three primary threats the US faced as being "Iran, Iran, Iran."

"At the time when I spoke about Iran, I was a commander of US central command and that [Iran] was the primary exporter of terrorism; frankly, it was the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today," he said in the Friday remarks, trying to explain his apparent shift of opinion.

The spokesman, nevertheless, described Mattis' new claim against Iran as baseless. He said one of the main reasons for the failure of international efforts to combat terrorism was "giving the false address" when speaking about the financial and ideological sources of terrorism.

Qasemi said Iran had itself been a victim of terrorism and had been involved in non-stop efforts to fight the scourge.

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