US sanctions force Hezbollah to cut spending on fighters: Washington Post report
Re-imposed US sanctions have affected Iran’s ability to finance Hezbollah, its proxy in Lebanon, forcing the militia group to cut expenditure by recalling fighters in Syria and laying off employees at its television channel Al-Manar, according to a report published by The Washington Post.
The United States has denied the Iranian regime over $10 billion in revenue and expects that number to increase dramatically, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told Al Arabiya English last month after Washington declared it would start ending waivers to Tehran’s oil customers.
“What we are doing is making it harder for Hezbollah to meet payroll, because 70% of Hezbollah’s revenue comes from the Iranian regime. Historically Iran gives Hezbollah $700 million a year, that’s 70% of their budget,” Hook said at the time.
According to The Washington Post’s report, the brunt of Hezbollah’s spending cuts has affected its fighters and their families, who will now be denied from receiving free medicines and even groceries.
The US sanctions have also forced Hezbollah to either furlough its fighters or reassign them to its reserve units, one official said, where they would receive lower salaries or no pay at all.
In March, the leader of Hezbollah called on his supporters to donate funds.
“The resistance needs your support ... because we are in the heart of the struggle,” Hassan Nasrallah said at the time. He added that the group will face the US sanctions with “patience and steadfastness.”
One senior Hezbollah official who spoke to The Washington Post admitted that the group’s income from Iran has fallen recently.
“There is no doubt these sanctions have had a negative impact,” said the anonymous official. “But ultimately, sanctions are a component of war, and we are going to confront them in this context,” he added.