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Iran Angry Over State Department's Terrorism Report

Iran blasts U.S. for naming it a state sponsor of terrorism in annual report.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/2/2014, 1:15 AM

Tehran
Tehran
AFP photo

Iran on Thursday rejected an annual United States report that keeps Tehran on a list of state sponsors of terrorism as reflecting double standards, AFP reported.

The Iranian foreign ministry was reacting to a State Department report released Wednesday that kept Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan on its list of so-called state sponsors of terrorism.

The report also highlighted what it said was Iran's role in supporting and funding the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in its fight against Syrian rebels.

"Accusing Iran of supporting terrorism is politicized and based on double standards," ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in a statement reported by the official IRNA news agency.

She questioned Washington's anti-terrorism intentions, recalling "innocent people who fall victim" to U.S. drone attacks in the region as well as "the turning of a blind eye to Zionist (Israeli) crimes against the Palestinians."

She also took issues with what has been the progressive removal from international terror lists of the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, an exiled opposition group that says it seeks the overthrow of Iran's Islamic regime through peaceful means.

Banned in Iran, Tehran has listed it as a terror group for carrying out bombings and assassinations.

Britain took the group off its terror list in 2008, followed by the European Union in 2009 and the United States in 2012.

That, Afkham said, "also poses a serious challenge to the claim of U.S. statesmen in combating terrorism," according to AFP.

Israel was also dissatisfied with the State Department report, as it focused intensely on "extremist Israeli settlers" and called for them to be prosecuted by the UN.

The report cited "399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage" and deemed them "violent extremists" - mostly over "price tag" attacks against Palestinian Arab homes and property.

While there have been a string of so-called “price tag” vandalism incidents in Arab villages over the past several months, and while these are usually attributed to Jewish extremists, it remains unclear whether some of the incidents were actual "price tag" attacks.

An Arutz Sheva report in January revealed that in at least some of the recently reported cases, anti-Arab "price tags" were being systematically staged by Arab activists.

Responding on Thursday to the report, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said that the United States was “in no position to grade us on our actions.”

Speaking during a television interview, Erdan said that the State Department was unfairly equating Israel with true terror regimes.

“These price tags attacks are not against lives, but against property. It's graffiti, not murder. I do not accept the position that attacks on property are the same as attacks against people. It's true that these kind of attacks could get out of hand and lead to murder, but this has not happened yet,” Erdan said.

“We in the government strongly condemn these kinds of attacks and we have been taking action against them,” he added. “We are very concerned. These are immoral acts and crimes that damage Israel.”