Hezbollah calls on supporters to donate as sanctions pressure bites

In this Nov. 12, 2010 file photo, Hezbollah fighters parade during the inauguration of a new cemetery for their fighters who died in fighting against Israel, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Hezbollah calls on supporters to donate as sanctions pressure bites

  • Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Its influence has expanded at home in Lebanon and in the region

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Friday called on its supporters to donate money as it comes under increasing pressure from Western sanctions intended to isolate it financially.
The US deems all parts of Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has been steadily increasing financial sanctions against the Iran-backed movement.
“I announce today that the resistance is in need of its (popular base),” Hezbollah’s Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, adding that donations were needed to support the group’s activities.
Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government. It is also heavily armed and has sent militants to the conflict in neighboring Syria.
Britain last month said it would list all elements of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization for destabilizing the Middle East, breaking with the rest of the EU which proscribes only its military wing.
In a televised speech, Nasrallah said other nations may follow Britain’s example.
“The sanctions and the terror lists are a form of war ... we should deal with them as if they are a war,” he said.
He called on Hezbollah supporters to remain steadfast in the face of these pressures and said the group’s enemies would be “disappointed.”
“Their actions will not be able to make us poor, hungry or isolated. Those that support us will continue in their support — be they countries, people or our people and the people of resistance in Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Its influence has expanded at home in Lebanon and in the region.
The group controls three of 30 ministries in the Lebanese government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, the largest number ever. It does not acknowledge having separate political and military wings.
Hezbollah and political allies that view its arsenal as an asset to Lebanon won more than 70 of Parliament’s 128 seats in an election last year, a major blow to Lebanese parties that oppose its possession of weapons like the Christian Lebanese Forces, which enjoys close ties to US-allied Gulf states.


British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

In this undated photo provided by the Free Nazanin Campaign, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugs her daughter Gabriella, in Iran. (AP)
Updated 27 min 58 sec ago
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British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

  • British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign”

LONDON: British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been transferred back to an Iranian prison from a hospital psychiatric ward, her husband said on Monday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was moved to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital on July 15, the “Free Nazanin” campaign group run by her husband said last week.
“Nazanin has been returned from psychiatric hospital, and is now back in Evin prison,” her husband, Richard, said in a statement. She was discharged at her request and the request of the hospital doctor, the campaign group said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told she had been admitted to hospital for a 10-day period of assessment. She received psychotherapy sessions, had physical checks and was prescribed some medicines, the campaign group seeking her release said.
In its release, the group quoted Zaghari-Ratcliffe saying that she was kept in a private room measuring 2 meters by 3 meters (6.5 feet by 9.8 feet) and was handcuffed and chained to the bed day and night.
The Iranian embassy in London declined immediate comment on the case.
“They did all they could to me – handcuffs, ankle cuffs, in a private room 2x3m, with thick curtains, and the door closed all the time,” she was quoted as saying. “I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, as I was chained to the bed.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign.”
“The way that she was detained for a week without being able to have any access to her family was totally unacceptable and I am afraid all too predictable from the Iranian regime,” he said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit, and was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment.
Her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News, deny the charge.