In the aftermath of the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iranian officials killed many of the country’s dissidents. This terrorism expanded outside Iran’s borders.
Funding Terrorist Organizations
In 1983, the Iranian government helped the Lebanese group Hezbollah bomb U.S. Marine and embassy sites. More than 300 people were killed. Prior to the attacks of 9/11, more Americans had lost their lives from the terrorist attacks of Hezbollah.
Americans weren’t the only group to be attacked by an organization supported by Iran. They committed terrorist attacks by killing dissidents in Europe, and murdered those that showed support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war.
In 1996, an Iranian-backed group exploded a truck full of explosives in front of Saudi Arabia’s Khobar Tower, which was a housing unit for military. Nineteen people died. Despite the passing of time, Iran is still considered one of the most deadly state sponsor of terrorism.
Violence Against Israel
Israelis are the target of attacks from Palestinian groups who receive financial backing from Tehran. These attacks have a mission: They push a narrative of opposition to the concept of a Jewish state. The violence also serves to terminate the peace process, which makes Iran less isolated in the Arab world.
Financing International Terrorism
As a direct consequence of its assistance to Hezbollah, Iran has aided the organization and the popularity of its leaders, which have more loyalty among Middle Easterners than do elected officials.
U.S. officials are unclear as to the extent of which Iran has affiliations with Sunni jihadist networks associated with al-Qaida.
The U.S. Role
Post 9/11, Iran cooperated with the United States by moving terrorists to their home nations to face trial. Iran is not consistent on this topic.Despite the fact that Iran says it keeps tabs on terrorists, it refuses to send most of them to face international tribunals. This issue has caused turmoil between the United States and Iran. American military presence in Iraq could be problematic for the Iranians. U.S. military officials have worried that the U.S. presence in Iraq leaves American troops at risk for an Iranian-backed terrorist attack. Click for more information here.
An Attack on the U.S. Homeland
It’s less likely that Iran would finance a terrorist attack in the United States, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Despite its propaganda, Iran views attacking U.S. properties abroad as a less risky tactic. According to the FBI, Hezbollah works to fund raise in America for its causes.
What Iran wants most is possibilities.
Iran’s military is suffering and the country’s economic power is lackluster at best.
Yet, terrorism gives Iran the opportunity to battle Israel, have a role in Iraq’s legacy, and a way to push around the United States. It’s a possibility that Iran will relinquish its role as a funder of Hezbollah. The issue of Iraq could be ironed out for the positive for Iran.