An annual reported submitted by National Intelligence director James Clapper omitted Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terror threats to the U.S. for the first time in years.
Despite both still being classified in the “Terrorism” section of the report in 2014, specifying that they “continue to directly threaten the interests of U.S. allies. Hizballah [sic] has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s,” Iran and Hezbollah were removed from this year’s report.
“We believe that this results from a combination of diplomatic interests (the United States’ talks with Iran about a nuclear deal) with the idea that Iran could assist in the battle against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and maybe even in the battle against jihadist terrorism in other countries,” an NGO assessment of the report read.
Council of Foreign Relations member Max Abrahms said he believes the omission of Iran to be a “quid pro quo” between the U.S. and Tehran.
“I think that we are looking at a quid pro quo, where Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists,” Abrahms said. “The world has changed. The Sunni threat has gotten worse, the Islamic State 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.”
Response on Reddit to the removal of Hezbollah and Iran from the list of threats was mixed, with some attempting to clarify the meaning behind the omissions.
“Hezbollah still remains on the State Department's list of terror groups and Iran remains on the State Department's list of nations that sponsor terrorism,” Redditor TioG wrote.
Others questioned the thinking behind a group like Hezbollah, responsible for the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombings as well as the 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina, being removed from a list of terror threats. “Iran I can understand, but Hezbollah? Seriously?” Redditor Foxh8er said.
“Hezbollah hasn't been targeting Americans so this is pretty much just common sense,” CyberneticHasselhoff wrote.
What do you think about the removal of Iran and Hezbollah from the Clapper’s list of terror threats?