Iran and Hezbollah were not included on the US list of global terror threats this year. Some point to the nuclear negotiations as having influenced the decision.
An annual US security report on global terror threats prepared by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did not include Iran or Hezbollah.
Iran is a known and documented supporter of terror and has been involved in global threats to security for decades. The Lebanese-based Hezbollah organization, backed by Iran, has been waging a terror campaign against Israel for years. Both were listed as terror threats in 2014, and Iran made the list in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment, which was submitted to the Senate recently, lauded Iran for its “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.” In fact, Iran is backing the Shi’ite rebels in Yemen who are wreaking havoc on the country.
Iran was listed under the “regional threats” heading in the document and mentioned in a section on cyber threats.
Clapper’s office denied that the changes to the report were the result of pressure from other US government bodies, such as the State Department.
“The facts are that the decisions that were made about what to place in that document, what to highlight and what to focus on were all within the [Office of the Director of National Intelligence],” Brian Hale, a spokesman for the office, was quoted by The Hill as saying. “Hezbollah and Iran are still a threat, and on balance when you look at everything that’s been put forward…I think it’s clear that there’s been no change at all other than someone decided internally, ‘Hey, let’s move some stuff from terrorism to Iran.’”
The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research was provided with a copy of the document in advance “as a matter of practice,” according to Hale, but “offered no inputs nor raised any concerns about the proposed drafted language on Iran or Hezbollah prior to its final publication,” the Hill reported.
Hale noted that Clapper had referenced Iran’s connection to Hezbollah during the Senate hearing on the report.
Fox News reported that Clapper’s office blamed the omission on a formatting change in the way the document was printed.
Former UN Diplomat: ‘It’s a Flat Lie’
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton told Fox News that the omission may have be tied to the nuclear negotiations between the US-led global powers and Iran.
“The people who would say this is a format change are weasels,” Bolton said. “It’s a flat lie. The format of this year’s report is exactly the same as last year’s report. Don’t believe me? Go look on the web. Compare the two of them. It’s exactly the same.”
Bolton said he believes the Iranian negotiators told the American negotiators to ease up on labeling the country as the largest state sponsor of terrorism. He does not expect the details of the arrangement to show up in the final nuclear deal, which is troubling, he said, because it raises questions of what other concessions may have been made that will never be made public.
Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Senate’s Council of Foreign Relations, told Newsweek that the US may be softening its stance on Iran in exchange for help with counter-terrorism.
“The world has changed,” Abrahms told Newsweek. “The Sunni threat has gotten worse, the Islamic State (ISIS) is a greater danger than al-Qaeda ever was, and the Iranians have really come up big in terms of helping us out in combating the Islamic State.” He was alluding to the Obama administration’s reported attempts at teaming with Iran to combat the regional terror threats.