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Iran accuses Saudi Arabia and US of 'state terrorism'

Iran and Hizballah are both heavily embroiled in Syria's civil war [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 June, 2016

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Tehran has hit back at US accusations of 'state terrorism' saying Washington's support for Israel and Saudi Arabia constituted real 'terrorism'.
Iran has angrily reacted to its renewed blacklisting by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism, and said that the US and Saudi Arabia are they real culprits.

Iran's foreign ministry issued a strongly-worded rebuke of accusations of terrorism links, accusing the US' regional allies of supporting extremist militants such as the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Tehran contrasted its role in the region's conflict, saying it was supporting the Iraqi government in its fight against IS independent of the US. It also said that it was backing the Syrian regime in its battle with an array of rebel groups, including some Salafi-inspired fighters allegedly backed by Saudi Arabia.

"[The US] turns a blind eye to the broad political and financial support by Saudi Arabia and its other allies to this ominous phenomenon in the world," foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari told the official IRNA news agency.

"While US allies in the region in various ways support [IS] and other terrorist groups, the Islamic Republic of Iran is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria."

Iran, like Damascus, refers to all opposition groups regardless of their political or religious affiliation as "terrorists".

Ansari said Washington was the "biggest sponsor of state terrorism" due to its support for Israel despite its decades-long occupation of Palestinian land.

On Thursday, the US State Department said Iran had boosted its support for Palestinian militant groups in Gaza over the past year.

It has also ramped up assistance to the Lebanese Shia political and militant movement Hizballah, the annual report said, which has deployed thousands of fighters to Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

The annual report also accused Iran of increasing "its assistance to Iraqi Shiite terrorist groups, including Kataib Hizballah, which is a US-designated foreign terrorist organisation, as part of an effort to fight the Islamic State".

Kataib Hizballah is one of a number of Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq that have played a major part in the government's fightback against IS.

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