Trump signs new sanctions against Hezbollah

Trump signs Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, which ramps sanctions against Lebanon-based terror group.

Elad Benari,

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Reuters

US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed new sanctions targeting the Hezbollah terrorist group which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, CNN reported.

"Over the past year we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah -- in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving for them," Trump said during an event marking the 35th anniversary of the attack on US Marine barracks in Beirut.

The legislation, known as the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). The bill ramps up reporting requirements and places further financial and economic sanctions on the group.

"We will target, disrupt and dismantle their operational and financing efforts, of which they have plenty ... and we will never forget what they did to our Marines in Beirut," said Trump.

The President criticized Iran before announcing new sanctions on the group, saying "Iran was instrumental in founding Hezbollah" and remains "its main patron today."

"We are doing a big number on Iran today, in case you haven't noticed. I'll tell you what, they're not the same country they were when I first took office," added Trump, who pointed out that that Iranians are now "rioting in their streets."

"Their money's collapsed. Their lives are a lot different, and they're not looking so much for the Mediterranean. ... Now they want to survive. It's a whole different deal," he said, calling the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which he withdrew last May the "Iran nuclear disaster."

The United States has in the past imposed several rounds of sanctions on Hezbollah and officials affiliated with the terror group.

Just last week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions designated five groups, including Hezbollah, as transnational criminal organizations to target with tougher investigations and prosecutions.

Earlier this year, the Treasury sanctioned one of the financiers of Hezbollah and its representative to Iran, as well as five entities based in Europe.

The sanctions came a day after the US and its Gulf partners imposed sanctions on the leadership of Hezbollah, including its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Naim Qassem.

Last October, Washington offered multimillion-dollar rewards for two Hezbollah officials as the Trump administration developed its strategy for countering Iran’s growing regional influence.

In February, the United States levied sanctions against six individuals and seven businesses with alleged links to Hezbollah financier Adham Tabaja, a Lebanese businessman who is believed by to be one of Hezbollah's top five money men.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the sanctions approved Thursday "will further isolate Hezbollah from the international financial system and reduce its funding."

"These sanctions will target foreign persons and government agencies that knowingly assist or support Hezbollah, and Hezbollah -affiliated networks that engage in drug trafficking or other transnational crime," she added.


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