US, Gulf allies sanction Hezbollah leaders

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a video screen as he addresses his supporters in Beirut

The United States has imposed additional sanctions on Hezbollah leadership in Lebanon, saying it is "destabilizing the entire region".

The U.S. and its Gulf allies on Wednesday announced sanctions against Islamist militant political party Hezbollah, citing its involvement with Iran.

Hezbollah's Shura Council was targeted according to a statement released by the U.S Treasury, "specifically Hasan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General" of the group. The recent sanctions come days after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Besides Nasrallah and Qassem, the sanctions also target Mohammead Yazbeck, Hussein al- Khalil, and Ibrahim al-Amin al-Sayyed for their terrorism links, said the Treasury.

In addition, TFTC Member States also designated the following key Hezbollah-affiliated individuals and entities: 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 US.

"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", said Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

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On Tuesday, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran's central bank governor and an Iraq-based bank for "moving millions of dollars" for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

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

In a related move, Saudi Arabia, along with 5 Gulf nations including Kuwait, banned on Wednesday financial transactions with Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

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

While Washington realises there is no "military solution" to the Hezbollah challenge, the measures are meant to isolate it, and is also "meant as a shot across the bow at the Lebanese state, and especially senior Lebanese politicians that have close dealings with Hezbollah, in the aftermath of the parliamentary elections [two weeks ago] and the run up to the Lebanese government formation" said the expert. It is, however, the first time that the U.S. Treasury has acted against Qassem, who is being listed for his ties to Hezbollah.

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