Iran continues to be the biggest supporter of terrorism around the world, with elements of its government supporting extremist groups throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, the US State Department says.
In its annual global survey of terrorism, the department once again singles out Iran as the "most active state sponsor" of terror, accusing it of helping plan and foment attacks to destabilise Iraq and derail Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
The designation in the 2006 edition of the Country Reports on Terrorism is not new, as the State Department regularly identifies Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
But the report is being released as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepares to attend a conference of Iraq's neighbors at which she has not ruled out a meeting with Iran's foreign minister in what could be the first-cabinet level contact with Iran since 2004.
The report says Iran's Revolutionary Guard and intelligence ministry "were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah, to use terrorism in pursuit their goals."
In Iraq, it says Iran has played a "destabilising role," giving material support and guidance to Shiite insurgent groups that have attacked Sunnis, US and Iraqi forces.