US, Gulf nations impose more sanctions on top Hezbollah leaders

Published: May 17, 2018 14:19:30 | Updated: May 18, 2018 20:44:21

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a video screen as he addresses his supporters in Beirut, Lebanon on Monday - Reuters photo

The United States and Gulf partners imposed additional sanctions on Lebanon’s Hezbollah leadership on Wednesday, targeting its top two officials, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Naim Qassem.

The US Treasury Department said four other individuals were also sanctioned, as was the group ISIS in the Greater Sahara, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation.

It was the third round of sanctions announced by Washington since the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal last week, reports Reuters.

Wednesday’s sanctions targeted members of the primary decision-making body of Hezbollah, Treasury said in a statement.

“By targeting Hezbollah’s Shura Council, our nations collectively rejected the false distinction between a so-called ‘Political Wing’ and Hezbollah’s global terrorist plotting,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The move expands US sanctions against Nasrallah, who was sanctioned by Washington in 1995 for threatening to disrupt the Middle East peace process and again in 2012 over Syria. It is, however, the first time that the US Treasury has acted against Qassem, who is being listed for his ties to Hezbollah.

The measures were imposed jointly by Washington and its partners in the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC), which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates, it said.

The Gulf states targeted four of the movement’s committees and ordered individuals’ assets and bank accounts frozen.

A number of those targeted by the TFTC had been previously blacklisted by the United States.

Earlier on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Ali Thani, discussed Qatar’s efforts to counter terrorism financing, the State Department said.

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