US, Gulf states slap new sanctions on Hezbollah leadership

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (left) and his deputy, Naim Qassem. (AFP & Reuters photos)
Updated 17 May 2018
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US, Gulf states slap new sanctions on Hezbollah leadership

  • The US Treasury Department said four other individuals were also sanctioned, as was the group Daesh in the Greater Sahara, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization
  • Wednesday’s sanctions targeted members of the primary decision-making body of Hezbollah

WASHINGTON: The United States and Gulf partners imposed additional sanctions on Lebanon’s Hezbollah leadership on Wednesday, targeting its top two officials, Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy, Naim Qassem.
The US Treasury Department said four other individuals were also sanctioned, as was the group Daesh in the Greater Sahara, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
It was the third round of sanctions announced by Washington since the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal last week.
Wednesday’s sanctions targeted members of the primary decision-making body of Hezbollah, Treasury said in a statement.
“By targeting Hezbollah’s Shoura 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.

On Tuesday, the US imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank governor and an Iraq-based bank for “moving millions of dollars” for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Last week, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against six individuals and three companies it said were funneling millions of dollars to the Revolutionary Guard’s external arm, Quds Force.

 

 


US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East

Updated 57 min 1 sec ago
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US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East

DUBAI/WASHINGTON: Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive purposes,” citing concerns about a threat from Iran.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said in a statement.
Reuters first reported plans to send US additional troops to the Middle East earlier on Monday.
Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked, more than a year after President Donald Trump announced Washington was withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran said on Monday it would soon breach limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the deal, which a White House National Security Council spokesman said amounted to “nuclear blackmail.”