Tehran says United States sponsors terrorism in the Middle East

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Slamming a U.S. State Department report linking Iran to a series of international terror attacks, Tehran on Friday said the United States backs terrorists in the Middle East.

“It should be mentioned that the U.S. government has no merit to label other nations of sponsoring terrorism as it has along ... record (of) supporting terrorist groups in our region as well as Israeli state terrorism,” Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s U.N. mission, told Reuters news agency.

“Iran itself has been the victim of state-sponsored terrorism, which has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Iranian people.”

“Iran has been actively engaged in counterterrorism activities by all possible means and is a party to many counterterrorism international legal instruments,” Miryousefi said.

The State Department report on Thursday cited a series of factual and planned attacks in Europe and Asia linked to Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based ally.

The attacks in the report included the July 2012 bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli citizens and a Bulgarian, and wounded 32 others.

But last July, Iran’s U.N. ambassador denied his country’s involvement in the Bulgaria bombing, which he accused Israel of carrying out. “We have never, and will not, engage in such a despicable attempt on ... innocent people,” Ambassador Mohammed Khazaee said.

Highlighting another rift between the U.S. and Iran, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed fresh doubt Friday that Iran’s presidential elections would change Tehran’s controversial nuclear policy.

“I do not have high expectations that the election is going to change the fundamental calculus of Iran,” Kerry said, according to AFP news agency.

“So we will continue to pursue... every effort to have a peaceful resolution, but Iran needs to understand that the clock is ticking.”