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The United States hits three senior Hezbollah officials with sanctions



T sanctioned the Treasury Department three members of Hezbollah, including two lawmakers, to help Iran and support its forces.

Hezbollah members of the Lebanese parliament, Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra & d, and the chief Hizbollah security officer Wafiq Safa have all been penalized by a Tuesday order. The move marks the first time the United States has sanctioned members of parliament.

"Hizballah uses its operators in the Lebanese Parliament to manipulate institutions in support of the terrorist group's economic and security interests and to strengthen Iran's malignant activities" Sigal Mandelker, Treasury's sub-sector of terrorism and financial intelligence said.

"The United States will continue to support the Lebanese Government's efforts to protect its institutions from the exploitation of Iran and its ban on terrorism and to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future for Lebanon," he added.

The Treasury Department said all three men have ties to Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah. The release confirms the US position that there is no difference between Hezbollah's military and political activities. Hezbollah, formed in the 1

980s and backed by Iran and Syria, is both a political party and a paramilitary organization. The United States has declared both entities a unique terrorist organization.

The sanctions come in tension between the United States and Iran and its powers in the Middle East. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced this week that his country had enriched uranium beyond the threshold set by the 2015 nuclear agreement in Iran, which the United States withdrew from last year.

Last month, the United States planned to beat Iranian plants in response to its downing by an American drone, but Trump canceled the move at the last minute. The United States has also recently introduced new sanctions against Iran directed against its leader and senior officials, announcing that it sent another 1,000 troops to the Middle East after a few oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.


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