(July 9, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. Treasury announced on Tuesday that it has sanctioned political and security Hezbollah officials for “leveraging their privileged positions to facilitate [its] malign agenda and do Iran’s bidding.”
Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra’d are Hezbollah members of the Lebanese Parliament, while Wafiq Safa is a Hezbollah “interlocutor to the Lebanese security forces,” according to the Treasury Department.
“Hezbollah uses its operatives in Lebanon’s parliament to manipulate institutions in support of the terrorist group’s financial and security interests, and to bolster Iran’s malign activities,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“Hezbollah threatens the economic stability and security of Lebanon and the wider region, all at a cost to the Lebanese people,” she continued. “The United States will continue to support efforts of the Lebanese government to protect its institutions from exploitation by Iran and its terrorist proxies, and to secure a more peaceful and prosperous future for Lebanon.”
The department said that Tuesday’s move “highlights how Hezbollah uses its political power to corrupt and exploit Lebanon’s financial and security elements, taking advantage of the country’s democratic system and values” and “also underscore that there is no distinction between Hezbollah’s political and violent activities.”
Hezbollah is a designated terrorist group by the United States and other countries, while in some others, only Hezbollah’s military wing is designated as such.
The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations applauded the move.
“The aim of the sanctions is to discourage people from doing business with Hezbollah and its supporters,” said chairman Arthur Stark, and executive vice chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein, in a statement. “Hopefully, it will lead to officials in Lebanon stopping their transactions with those named today and in the past, as well as others affiliated with Hezbollah.”
“We hope that European countries and others will follow suit. These sanctions are an effective tool in the U.S. arsenal for fighting terrorism,” they continued. “We think this message will resonate in Lebanon as it has in Iran and elsewhere where terrorist entities find support.”