Saudi Arabia
Saudi ArabiaiStock

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday classified the Lebanon-based Al-Qard Al-Hassan association as a terrorist entity, citing links to activities supporting Hezbollah, Reuters reported, citing state media.

"The association works on managing funds for the terrorist organization (Hezbollah) and its financing, including support for military purposes," the state news agency said, quoting a security statement.

The statement added that all assets belonging to the association inside the kingdom should be frozen and "it is prohibited to carry out any direct or indirect dealings with or for the benefit of the association."

Hezbollah is backed by Iran, which is Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom's neighbors. Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.

However, the two countries have been engaged in talks since April with the aim of improving relations, for the first time since cutting ties in 2016. The talks have been described as being on the right track.

Saudi Arabia’s move comes several months after the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on seven Lebanese nationals it said were connected to Hezbollah and its financial firm, Al-Qard Al-Hassan.

The United States in recent years has placed sanctions on several Lebanese officials linked to Hezbollah.

This has included sanctions against two former Lebanese Cabinet ministers allied with the terrorist organization: Ex-finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil and the former public works and transportation minister, Youssef Fenianos.

In addition, Washington sanctioned Gebran Bassil, the leader of Lebanon’s biggest Christian political bloc and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun, accusing him of corruption and ties to Hezbollah.