Iran is continuing to behave as an exporter of terrorism and still sponsors militant activity, U.S. Defence Secretary, James Mattis, said on Friday in London.
Asked about comments he made in 2012 that the three primary threats the U. S. faced were “Iran, Iran, Iran,” Mattis said that Iran’s behaviour had not changed in the years since.
“At the time when I spoke about Iran I was a commander of U.S. central command and that (Iran) was the primary exporter of terrorism.
“Frankly, it was the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behaviour today,” Mr. Mattis said.
Mr. Mattis also said that North Korea was acting in a reckless manner and must be stopped.
“This is a threat of both rhetoric and growing capability, and we will be working with the international community to address this, we are doing so right now,” Mr. Mattis said in reply to a question about the potential threat to the U.S. from ballistic missiles.
“Right now, it appears to be going in a very reckless manner in what its conduct is portraying for the future and that’s got to be stopped,” Mr. Mattis said.
He also said that the U. S. was concerned about Russia’s presence in Afghanistan and its interactions with Taliban fighters.
“We have seen Russian activity vis-à-vis the Taliban,” Mr. Mattis said during a news conference in London.
“I’m not going to say at this point if that has manifested into weapons and that sort of thing, but certainly what they’re up to there in light of their other activities gives us concern.”
Mr. Mattis added that he had not yet decided whether to recommend an increase in U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan.