US places two Hezbollah MPs on sanctions lists

Amin Sherri (L) and Muhammad Hasan Ra’d (R) are Hezbollah figures who are part of the Lebanese parliament. (Supplied)

The Trump administration has placed three Hezbollah figures, two of whom are members of Lebanon’s parliament, on US sanctions lists, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

The US Department of the Treasury said they designated the Hezbollah political and security figures for “leveraging their privileged positions to facilitate Hezbollah’s malign agenda and do Iran’s bidding.”

The designations on Tuesday included Members of Parliament Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra’d, and Hezbollah security official Wafiq Safa.

“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, the US Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

“Hezbollah threatens the economic stability and security of Lebanon and the wider region, all at a cost to the Lebanese people. The United States will continue to support efforts of the Lebanese government to protect its institutions from exploitation by Iran and its terrorist proxies, and to secure a more peaceful and prosperous future for Lebanon,” Mandelker added in a statement.

The move came as the US steps up pressure on Iran and its alleged “proxies” in the Middle East, including Hezbollah, which Washington accuses of encouraging “terror” attacks.

It was the first time the US Treasury had placed Hezbollah lawmakers on its blacklist, which forbid US individuals and businesses with a US branch – including leading international banks – from doing business with those sanctioned.

“It is time we believe for other nations around the world to recognize that there is no distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military wing,” a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity told journalists.

“To any member of Hezbollah considering running for office, know that you will not be able to hide beneath the cover of political office,” the official said.

Raad, 64, is the head of the parliamentary bloc of the party and an MP since 1992. Sherri, 62, is a 17-year Hezbollah veteran of parliament representing Beirut.

Safa, the Treasury said, maintains the group’s ties to financiers and allegedly helps arrange the smuggling of weapons and drugs.

The newest sanctions brought to 50 the number of Hezbollah individuals and entities blacklisted by the Treasury since 2017.

(With AFP)

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