Iran biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, says US defence secretary

President Donald Trump and Defence Secretary James Mattis

Speaking in Japan while on an official visit, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told reporters that, “as far as Iran goes, this is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. It does no good to ignore it, it does no good to dismiss it.”

The comments come as the Trump administration has been sharpening its rhetoric against the Islamic Republic, with new sanctions signed off by the president on Friday.

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser had said on Wednesday that the US was “officially putting Iran on notice” following what he called a “provocative” ballistic missile test on Sunday.

Iran’s defence minister, Hossein Dehghan, had already confirmed that his country had tested missiles saying, “we will never neglect enhancing our country’s capacity to defend itself nor will we ask for anyone’s permission when doing so”.

Simmering tensions took on a new dimension when President Trump stated that, “nothing is off the table” when asked about a possible military intervention in Iran.