What You Need to Know About State-Sponsored Terrorism

Iranians celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

What You Need to Know About State-Sponsored Terrorism

Its sources are not as widespread as you may think.

Following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared, “We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry ‘There is no god but Allah’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.”

The struggle continues to this day, and the Iranian Revolution has been Tehran’s chief export to sovereign nations near and far. The United States State Department calls it state-sponsored terrorism.

A state sponsor of terrorism is, according to the State Department, a nation whose government repeatedly provides support for international terrorism. Iran has been designated as such since 1984. It is hardly surprising that Iran prominently features every year in the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism, not only as a state sponsor of terrorism but as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism” and the “leading state sponsor of terrorism.” It leads a very small, very exclusive group of rogues that is becoming smaller and more exclusive—and more revealing.

Over the years, the traditional state sponsors of terrorism have been Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Libya, Syria and Sudan. And over the years, most of these nations have been dropped from the list. This year’s report, released July 19, lists only Iran, Syria and Sudan as state sponsors of terrorism.

Consider the following:

  • Syria is a nation ravaged by a brutal civil war that’s now in its sixth year. The Syrian government has been a state sponsor of terrorism primarily because it has supported the terrorist groups that have been fighting for it and fighting with it in this civil war, groups like the Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah.
  • Sudan, on the other hand, has actually been renouncing terrorism. The State Department’s report says, “[C]ountering terrorism is today a national security priority for Sudan, and Sudan is a cooperative partner of the United States on counterterrorism, despite its continued presence on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List. During the past year, the government of Sudan continued to pursue counterterrorism operations alongside regional partners, including operations to directly counter threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. … There were no reported terrorist attacks in Sudan in 2016. There also were no indications that the Sudanese government tolerated or assisted terrorist organizations within its borders in 2016. Reports indicate that the government of Sudan ceased providing Hamas any direct support as they did in years past.”

Where does this leave Iran?

You could argue that it is somewhat misleading to refer to Iran as the “leading state sponsor of terrorism.” You could argue that Iran, in many regards, is the only state sponsor of terrorism. At the very least, the Iranian state is remarkably unique in the way it sponsors or exports terrorism.

The Turning Point

In 1982, Iran hosted a conference of more than two dozen regional nations about the “ideal Islamic government.” The conference regarded Islam as “a weapon in revolutionary wars against the rich and corrupt.” The Islamic religion would wake Muslims “from the sleep of centuries, putting a sword in their hands and sending them into battle against the forces of Satan.” Ayatollah Khomeini pledged his wholehearted “support for all movements and groups that are fighting to gain liberation from superpowers of the left and of the right.”

Veteran reporter Robin Wright described the conference as a turning point in global, Iranian-sponsored, Islamic revolution. At the time, the West largely ignored the Iran conference.

Wright writes in her book Sacred Rage:

Two years later, however, nervous cabinet ministers in oil-rich Gulf states, State Department analysts in Washington, and Soviet envoys in Beirut looked back on the conference with both frustration and concern, all by then trying to find out more about it. For the names of the clergymen who attended that seminar had come back to haunt the vulnerable sheikdoms as well as the power centers on four continents.

That was in 1984—the year the State Department first designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, following devastating Iranian-sponsored terrorist attacks in Kuwait, Lebanon and other nations.

That year—1984—the State Department held its own conference about the Iranian threat. Then director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago Marvin Zonis said at that conference,

The message from Iran—no matter how bizarre or trivial it sounds on first, second, fourth or 39th hearing—is, in my opinion, the single-most impressive political ideology which has been proposed in the 20th century since the Bolshevik Revolution. … This powerful message will be with us for a very long time—no matter what happens to Ayatollah Khomeini.

Thirty-three years later, Khomeini is dead, but his struggle continues.

Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism might actually be worse than even the State Department previously indicated. The State Department’s last two reports under the Obama administration both stated: “Iran previously allowed [al Qaeda] facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling [al Qaeda] to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria” (emphasis added throughout). The Trump administration revised that language to assert: “Since at least 2009, Iran has allowed [al Qaeda] facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through the country, enabling [al Qaeda] to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.” The implication, as the Long War Journal noted, is that Iran’s support of al Qaeda is ongoing.

Iran Is King

State sponsorship of terrorism is almost exclusively Iranian!

Could that reality possibly help identify a Middle Eastern power that is described in the Bible as having a violently forceful foreign policy?

Daniel 11:40 reads, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains the Bible’s description of one of these “kings” in his booklet The King of the South:

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says the word push means “to strike—used of horned animals,” or “to push with the horn.” It is “used figuratively of a victor who prostrates the nations before him.” It also means to wage war. Push is a violent word!

Earlier in his booklet, Mr. Flurry writes:

This prophecy in [the book of Daniel] is moving toward fulfillment right before our eyes in this end time, and it is mainly because of Iran’s “push” toward radical Islam. But that pushy foreign policy will lead to its downfall in a way that most people cannot imagine!

The late Khomeini once declared, “We must settle our accounts with great and superpowers and show them that we can take on the whole world ideologically, despite all the painful problems that face us.” Bible prophecy indicates that a great power from the “north” will soon deal with Iranian terrorism.

Mr. Flurry continues:

The king of the south is about state-sponsored terrorism. That is how Iran became king! Daniel 11:40-43 is an end-time prophecy. It is about a nation that is always pushy in its foreign policy. It pushes until it starts a war. Having such power means that it must be a large oil-producing country. Prophecy shows that this king is close to Jerusalem, Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya.

Who else could it be in this end time but Iran?

Who else sponsors terrorism like Iran?

For more information, download a pdf, Kindle or ePub copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet. If you prefer a physical copy, we will ship it to you free.