US, Gulf states designate Hezbollah chief Nasrallah as terror sponsor

The US Treasury had previously designated Nasrallah for disrupting the Middle East peace process in 1995 and for actions in Syria in 2012. EPA  AL-MANAR TV GRAB

US, Gulf states designate Hezbollah chief Nasrallah as terror sponsor

The joint action came in partnership between the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the seven member nations of the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC), which include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Wednesday's sanctions targeted members of the primary decision-making body of Hezbollah, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, placed 10 leaders of Lebanon's Hezbollah on their terrorism lists on Wednesday, including Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Naim Qassem, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

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

The OFAC and TFTC nations further designated Naim Qasim, Muhammad Yazbak, Husayn Al- Khalil, and Ibrahim al-Amin al-Sayyid "pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism".

These designations follow U.S President Trump's decision last week to cease US participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and to begin reimposing USA nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian regime.

A number of those targeted by the TFTC had been previously blacklisted by the United States.

"By targeting Hezbollah's Shura Council, our nations collectively rejected the false distinction between a so-called "Political Wing" and Hezbollah's global terrorist plotting", Mnuchin added.

The announcement followed two United States moves in the past week to put pressure on Iran's financial networks, including sanctions announced Tuesday that aimed at an alleged financial pipeline that moved "hundreds of millions of dollars" from Iran's central bank through an Iraqi bank to Hezbollah.

Coming after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, the US Treasury said Wednesdays actions are part of a efforts to go after "the totality of Iran's malign activities and regionally destabilizing behavior, including that of Hezbollah".

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