US, Gulf allies sanction Hezbollah leaders


"The TFTC again demonstrated its great value to global security by disrupting Iran and Hezbollah's destabilizing influence in the region", U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The new measures also added fresh sanctions on Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who has already been designated for support for terrorism and the Syrian regime.

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).

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear deal and said he would reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Washington said it was sanctioning five members of the Shiite militia's Shura council - its top decision making forum.

Talal Hamiyah, Ali Youssef Charara, Spectrum Group, Hasan Ebrahimi, Maher Trading, Hashem Safieddine, Adham Tabaja, Al-Inmaa Group, and Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting, all of whom were previously designated by the United States, were also included in the latest sanctions.

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Nasrallah was designated for acting for or on behalf of "Hezbollah", which he has led since 1992.

"It is appalling, but not surprising, that Iran's senior-most banking official would conspire with the IRGC-QF to facilitate funding of terror groups like Hezbollah, and it undermines any credibility he could claim in protecting the integrity of the institution as a central bank governor", Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said in a statement.

Yazbeck is one of "Hezbollah's" original founders.

Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah terror movement parade with the party's flags and portraits of its leader Hassan Nasrallah through the streets of Baalbeck, in the eastern Bekaa valley, near the border with Syria, on general election day, May 6, 2018. He has supervised training camps and the smuggling of weapons, and hosted experts from Iran's IRGC to train "Hezbollah" fighters on weapons systems. On May 15, the administration announced that they would be slapping Iran's central bank with sanctions for being used as a vehicle to funnel funds between Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

The U.S. move comes just over a week after Hezbollah and its political allies looked set to emerge as the most powerful alliance in Lebanon's next parliament.