US, Gulf Arab states place sanctions on Hezbollah leadership

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The United States and six Gulf Arab states announced sanctions Wednesday on the leadership of Hezbollah, as Washington seeks to step up economic pressure on Iran and its allies in the region after President Donald Trump withdrew this month from the 2015 nuclear deal.

As reported by SPA, the sanctions imposed against the leader of the group Hassan Nasrallah, his Deputy Naim Qassem, Politburo members Muhammad Yazbeck, Hussein Khalil and Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyid.

The Shura Council is Hezbollah's premier decision-making body responsible for religious, military, and strategic matters and asserts control over administrative, planning, and policy-making authorities.

The joint action also targeted four other individuals and entities that the US had previously sanctioned.

At the same time, the six Gulf members of the TFTC - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates - declared sanctions on another nine individuals and firms part of or linked to Hezbollah that were already blacklisted by the US Treasury. It is comprised of 12 members who are tasked with making the group's tactical decisions and oversee its activities countrywide.

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The US Treasury Department said four other individuals were also sanctioned, as was the group Daesh in the Greater Sahara, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization.

The move came 10 days after Hezbollah gave a strong showing in Lebanon's elections, garnering enough seats in parliament to block any attempt by its political foes to make it disarm its militia, which rivals the Lebanese army in size and firepower.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that "under the dictates of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, Hasan Nasrallah is prolonging human suffering in Syria, fueling violence in Iraq and Yemen, putting the Lebanese state and the Lebanese people at risk, and destabilizing the entire region".

Hezbollah was formed following the Israeli regime's invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing occupation of its southern parts in 1980s, and now constitutes Lebanon's de facto military power. The group shares financial intelligence to target terrorist financing networks. Since President Donald Trump announced the policy-shift on Iran, the USA has sanctioned the nation's central bank governor and an Iran-linked currency exchange network.

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