US Treasury Imposes Sanctions On 3 Senior Hezbollah Functionaries Including 2 Members of Lebanon’s Parliament Accusing Them of Helping Iran

THE United States has added three top Hezbollah leaders to its list of sanctioned individuals. They include two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies. It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to “terrorist organisations”, says Aljazeera. Washington has accused them of helping Shia nation Iran. US says the three senior Hizballah political and security officials who leverage their positions to facilitate Hizballah and the Iranian regime’s malign efforts to undermine Lebanese sovereignty.  These officials have exploited their positions to smuggle illicit goods into Lebanon, pressure Lebanese financial institutions to assist Hizballah, undermine Lebanese institutions, and evade U.S. sanctions against Hizballah facilitators and financiers, says U S Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in a statement . Today’s designations are part of the United States’ efforts to counter Hizballah’s corrupting influence in Lebanon, and to support Lebanon’s stability, prosperity, and sovereignty.  The United States’ maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime – the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism – and its proxies has already succeeded in limiting the financial support Hizballah receives.  As a result, this designated terrorist organization has been forced to take unprecedented austerity measures.  For example, in March 2019, for the first time ever, Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah made a public appeal for financial support. As these sdesignations demonstrate, any distinction between Hizballah’s political and military wings is artificial – a fact Hizballah itself acknowledges.  “We call on our allies and partners to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization”, Pompeo added. Incidentally    Hezbollah, Shia’s Islamist party, finds support from within some Christian areas of Lebanon that are Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah receives military training, weapons, and financial support from Iran, and political support from Syria. The militant group is based in Beirut , Lebanon. Hezbollah denies any ties with al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has issued an audio recording calling Hezbollah an “enemy of Sunnis. Reacting to the sanctions by Washington, one Hezbollah politician on Tuesday slammed the US move as “humiliation” for Lebanon. The US decision “is a humiliation for the Lebanese people”, Ali Fayyad told Lebanon’s MTV news channel, according to its website, and called on parliament and the government to issue a formal condemnation. The newest sanctions brought to 50 the number of Hezbollah individuals and entities blacklisted by the Treasury since 2017, reports the news channels quoting news agencies.

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