The United States Coordinator for Counterterrorism said that Iran spends nearly $1 billion annually supporting terrorist groups across the Middle East, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe reported  Thursday.
Of the total, Amb. Nathan Sales said that Iran gives $700 million to the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah; $100 million to Hamas and other “Palestinian terrorist groups;” and unspecified sums to other terrorist organizations.
“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It has held that dubious distinction for many years now, and it shows no signs of relinquishing the title,” Sales said .
“Sadly, it is the Iranian people who are forced to pay this price. The resources that Iran uses to fund its global terrorist ambitions are resources that come directly out of the pockets of everyday, average Iranians.”
Reuters reported  last week that ordinary Iranians are “increasingly” taking to social media and “pointing fingers at the rich and powerful, including clerics, diplomats, officials and their families,” for living privileged lives while most Iranians are suffering from the poor economy.
In addition, Iranian teachers have gone on a nationwide strike for a second consecutive day demanding from the regime in Tehran better working conditions and higher salaries, one month after their last mass protest. Voice of America reported  Wednesday that elementary and high school teachers were protesting outside their offices in at least 27 Iranian cities.
In a related development, Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, met  with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.
Netanyahu thanked the U.S. for imposing “powerful sanctions against Iran.” The goal of these sanctions, the prime minister asserted, is to take action against “the most aggressive power in the region that has to be rolled back.”
Hook stated that with new sanctions in place, the U.S. is positioned “to really go after all of the revenue streams that Iran uses to fund Hamas and Hezbollah, its missile proliferation, all of the threats to peace and security that Iran presents.” He also thanked Israel for being “a fantastic and committed partner in this endeavor.”
When he announced that the U.S. would pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran this past May, President Donald Trump stated  that the U.S. was committed to “efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East.”
[Photo: U.S. Department of State / YouTube ]