A Hezbollah lawmaker on Tuesday slammed the US move to place two of the group’s parliamentarians on its sanctions blacklist as “humiliation” for Lebanon.
The US decision “is a humiliation for the Lebanese people”, Ali Fayyad told Lebanon’s MTV news channel, according to its website, and called on parliament and the government to issue a formal condemnation.
The US Treasury added Lebanese lawmakers Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Raad to a terror-related blacklist, saying that the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah they belong to uses its parliamentary power to advance alleged violent activities.
Also placed on the blacklist was Wafiq Safa, a top official of the Iran-allied Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah uses its operatives in Lebanon’s parliament to manipulate institutions in support of the terrorist group’s financial and security interests, and to bolster Iran’s malign activities,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The move, which is the first by Washington to target Hezbollah elected politicians, came as the US bolsters pressure on Iran and its alleged “proxies” in the Middle East.
Hezbollah is listed as a “terrorist group” by the United States and has fought several wars with US ally Israel to the south of Lebanon.
Hezbollah fighters have backed government forces in neighboring Syria in the war that broke out there in 2011.
Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil meanwhile tweeted that the US sanctions “concern all of the Lebanese even if they are directed at Hezbollah” and are “unjustified”.
After the US Treasury’s announcement, Hezbollah television al-Manar said the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, was due to appear Friday on TV.
Nasrallah is due to address a series of Lebanese and regional issues and is expected to also discuss the latest sanctions.
Hezbollah was established in 1982 during Lebanon’s civil war and is now a major political player in the country.
It won 13 seats out of 128 in the May 6, 2018 general election and holds three cabinet posts.