White House tells Iran to stop funding Hezbollah

‘We know that Iran supports terrorism,’ the White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters

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The White House urged Iran on Monday to stop giving financial support to Lebanon’s Shiite movement Hezbollah, warning of such continued backing won’t seep into “its interest.”

“We know that Iran supports terrorism,” the White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday. “And we know that Iran supports Hezbollah. And that is why we’ve issued the most serious and most severe sanctions ever on Iran for doing so. So it’s important for them to recognize their own behavior in enabling this.”

Hezbollah has been blacklisted as a “terrorist” organization both by the US and Gulf states.

On Friday, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah scoffed at fresh US sanctions. He said his powerful group will not be affected by the sanctions because of its secure, direct income from Iran and through Lebanese banks.

“We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Nasrallah said.

Early this year, the United States lifted sanctions imposed against Iran, allowing the Islamic republic to use up to $100 billion of frozen funds.

The White House spokesman said that “financial actors” at the end of the day “don’t want to do business” with a country like Iran if it continues its support to Hezbollah.

“We’ve had a conversation recently about Iran’s concerns about access to international markets,” he said: “Well, those financial actors are looking at Iran’s behavior and if Iran’s going to continue to fund terrorism and continue to supply resources to Hezbollah that is going to have impact.”

He warned that such continued support to Hezbollah won’t be of Iran’s interest.

“So we call on Iran to not only stop doing this because it’s not good for national security and they’re supporting terrorism. But we call on Iran to stop doing it because it’s not in their interest either,” he said.

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