US sanctions Hezbollah figures, including 2 MPs
From left, Wafiq Safa, a top Hezbollah security official, and Lebanon Parliament members Muhammad Hasan Raad and Amin Sherri in Beirut Files: Hussein Malla/AP Photo
Date: 2019-07-10 13:22
The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday (July 9), including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
The designations were part of US efforts to counter the Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s “corrupting influence in Lebanon,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list targeting those accused of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
OFAC said it had added Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Raad, both members of Lebanon’s Parliament, for acting on behalf of Hezbollah. In an unusual move, it also released photos of the individuals, including one in which Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani has his arm around Sherri’s shoulder.
OFAC said it also designated Wafiq Safa, who is in charge of Hezbollah’s Liaison and Coordination Unit responsible for coordinating with Lebanese security agencies.
Pompeo said the three officials “have exploited their positions to smuggle illicit goods into Lebanon, pressure Lebanese financial institutions to assist Hezbollah, undermine Lebanese institutions, and evade US sanctions against Hezbollah facilitators and financiers.”
The action by the US Treasury bars US citizens from dealing with the three individuals and blocks any assets they may hold in the United States. It also limits their ability to access the US financial system.