The US imposed sanctions against the leader of "Hezbollah" Sheikh Nasrallah

17 May, 2018, 05:44 | Author: Wade Massey
  • US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

The United States hit a raft of Hezbollah leaders with new sanctions on Wednesday in a crackdown carried out with the cooperation of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Nasrallah, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qasim, and three other Shura Council members were listed under the joint sanctions, which aim at freezing vulnerable assets of those named and blocking their access to global financial networks.

The action was undertaken jointly with members of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC): Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman.

"These designations follow President Trump's decision last week to cease U.S. participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and to begin reimposing United States nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian regime".

Besides Nasrallah and Qassem, the sanctions also target Mohammead Yazbeck, Hussein al- Khalil, and Ibrahim al-Amin al-Sayyed for their terrorism links, said the Treasury.

TFTC member states further designated key Hezbollah affiliated individuals and entities, including Talal Hamiyah, Ali Youssef Charara, Spectrum Group, Hasan Ebrahimi, Maher Trading, Hashem Safieddine, Adham Tabaja, Al-Inmaa Group, and Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting, all of whom were previously designated by the U.S.

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Iran's central bank governor and an Iraq-based bank for funneling millions of dollars on behalf of Iran's elite revolutionary guards. In addition, the sanctions reject the "false distinction" between the group's political and military wings.

Specifically, OFAC, together with Gulf partners, designated Hasan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah.

Yazbeck is one of "Hezbollah's" original founders.

Matthew Levitt, an expert on sanctions and a former Treasury official, told The National, that "these measures are impactful not only as a means of exposing Hezbollah's illicit conduct and the intimate ties between its military/terrorist and social/political activities, but also because it plugs into 2014's Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act and is therefore liable for secondary sanctions".

The move came 10 days after Hezbollah gave a strong showing in Lebanon's elections, garnering enough seats in parliament to block any attempt by its political foes to make it disarm its militia, which rivals the Lebanese army in size and firepower.

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