Thomas Wictor

How does the US classify Iran and Hezbollah?

How does the US classify Iran and Hezbollah?

Forget what everybody has said about how the United States classifies Iran and Hezbollah. This post will explain everything.

Firstly, the US lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.


Secondly, the US lists Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization.


So why do people believe that the United States no longer considers Iran and Hezbollah terrorist actors?

What happened is that in the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on February 26, 2015, the threat posed to the US by Iran and Hezbollah was unofficially downgraded.

Here’s how we can tell.

This is the 2013 Worldwide Threat Assessment (WWTA).

Under the category “Terrorism,” we have this on page 5.


This is the 2014 WWTA.

Under the category “Terrorism,” we have this on page 5.


This is the 2015 WWTA.

Here’s the entire category of “Terrorism,” found on pages 4 and 5.



Iran and Hezbollah are not mentioned. In fact not a bad word is said about Hezbollah in the entire assessment. Here’s what it says about Iran, on page 14.


The 2015 WWTA acknowledges that Iran is an ongoing threat to US interests, but clearly an attempt has been made to downplay the danger. It’s apparent that the White House pressured National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper, and he acquiesced.

Why would the White House try to minimize the danger that Iran and Hezbollah pose? Because the US is currently negotiating an agreement with Iran that will pretend to keep the mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons. It’s a charade designed to give the failed president a legacy, but as forty-seven Senators pointed out, any agreement that the president makes will be meaningless.

Whatever the president signs will be an “executive agreement,” not a treaty. As soon as the president leaves office, his agreement can be rendered null and void by his successor or Congress. For it to become a treaty, it must be ratified by the Senate.

If the president wants an “executive-congressional agreement,” it has to be approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House has drafted its own letter to President Obama, reminding him of the role Congress must play in any binding agreement.

The politicizing of our national security isn’t new. My great-uncle Curtis Yarnell Kimball was a genuine war hero. As a major in the 129th Infantry Regiment, he was given some kind of medal by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in Munich, April of 1945.


The medal isn’t listed anywhere; Curtis’s wartime activities are still classified. During World War II the 129th Infantry Regiment served in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Curtis had to have been sent to Europe for very special reasons. He spoke fluent, unaccented German, and I found a Nazi Party identity card he was issued in 1937 under a Germanic version of his name. It’s pretty clear that he spent the war in Germany, likely passing as a German. I can’t imagine the courage that took. In 1948 he was given the Order of the British Empire.

Curtis died in 1979, and after his widow Marian joined him in 2006, my mother gathered up all their personal effects and kept them in the extension that Tim and I built with our bare hands.


I’m in the orange pants, Tim is kneeling in front of me, and our father is on the ladder.

After Mom died on October 13, 2013, I went through all the papers she and my father left behind. I was trying to find out who these two people were. In a box I found Curtis Kimball’s field notes from his time in Iran. From 1951 to 1955 Lieutenant-Colonel Kimball was attached to the United States Military Mission with the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie.

I won’t tell you what’s in the field notes, except for a tiny bit. Most of what I have in my possession would still be classified if the US Army knew about it. All I’ll say is that it required more physical courage and moral certainty than I can comprehend.

In 1955 Curtis was recalled from Iran, and his career in the army was effectively terminated. I found several letters he wrote to various commanders, begging them to help him, but there are no responses. What happened was that my incredibly outspoken Great-aunt Marian mouthed off to someone in the State Department, telling them that they were doing a terrible job in Iran.

Marian was born to parents who were both past fifty.


She was given to her older sister because her mother said, “I’m done raising kids.”

Marian had a very hard life until she met Curtis, who fell madly in love with her on sight. Marian almost never smiled. Except when she was with Curtis.


So at a party in Tehran in 1955, a member of the State Department said something derogatory about the US Army, and Marian blew up at him. I’m guessing that she knew what Curtis had done in World War II and as a member of the United States Military Mission with the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie. Curtis probably wasn’t supposed to tell her, but they were buddies. She was extremely butch, which appealed to him.

The State Department weasel complained to Curtis’s commander, and Curtis was immediately recalled from Iran. His career was destroyed. The Kimballs retired to Florida because Curtis was a maniacal yachtsman. We visited them a handful of times when I was small. They had a beautiful indoor swimming pool shaped like a peanut, and Marian made the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever tasted.

After Curtis died, the US Army asked Marian if she wanted him buried in Arlington Cemetery. She sent them an ice-cold missive thanking them for their offer and explaining that she couldn’t let them off the hook by allowing them to assuage their guilt that way.

Instead, she had him cremated. She rented a small single-engined aircraft, asked the pilot to take her over the Gulf of Mexico, and threw Curtis’s ashes out the window. He ended up in his beloved sea.

Don’t be shocked that politics puts our safety at risk and ruins the lives of heroes. It’s always been that way, and it will always remain so. Our duty is to rise above tribalism and the filth of geopolitics.

Click here to read how I did so.