Hezbollah denounces US sanctions bill

Published November 24th, 2015 - 09:30 GMT

Hezbollah Monday denounced a bill passed last week by the US Senate to tighten sanctions against the party by targeting its financing and main media organization, describing the decision as a “crime” against it and all liberals in the world.

The bill, which still needs presidential approval, says it “prevents Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions.”

“This is a new crime by American institutions against our people, the [Islamic] nation and against the liberals in this world,” a statement issued by Hezbollah’s media office said.

It added that the new bill was another way for the US to try and exert control in the world, “disregarding international laws that should be practiced between global nations and organizations.”

“Hezbollah is a resistance movement fighting the terrorism that America supports, whether Zionist terrorism which targets the Palestinians, or takfiri terrorism which has spread in many nations with American and Zionist support,” the statement added.

The United States considers Hezbollah and its television channel Al-Manar “terrorist” entities.

The bill, officially called the “Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015,” was introduced on May 13, and was passed in the House of Representatives one day later by a vote of 423-0. There were nine abstentions.

The bill aims to sanction international financial institutions that knowingly engage in business with Hezbollah and its enablers. It also identifies the organization’s satellite and Internet providers, which support its television network Al-Manar.

It was then forwarded to the Senate which voted in favor of it 98-0 on Nov. 17 with two abstentions. But the Senate amended the bill, so it will be sent back to the House for approval before Obama signs it into law.

The  has issued many sanctions against Hezbollah in the past, for reasons such as its military actions against Israel or its involvement in the Syrian war.

Individuals in America have been sentenced in the past to prison for allegedly aiding Hezbollah financially or providing satellite television services to Al-Manar.

A US businessman in 2009 was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for providing satellite television services to the channel, while another man that same year was sentenced to 17 months in prison for also broadcasting the channel to satellite users.

In July this year, the US government imposed sanctions on three leaders of Hezbollah and a businessman in Lebanon, saying they were key players in the group’s military operations in Syria.

The US Treasury Department said at the time that Mustafa Badreddine, Ibrahim Aqil and Fuad Shukr, military officials within Hezbollah, had coordinated or participated in the group’s military support for the government of President Bashar Assad in Syria’s ongoing civil war.

A businessman in Lebanon named Abd al-Nur Shalan was a fourth individual sanctioned for procuring weapons for Hezbollah and shipping them to Syria.

The US has been backing rebels from opposition groups in Syria trying to oust Assad out of power.

Hezbollah, which is fighting on the Syrian regime’s side, accuses the US and other countries of supporting extremist militant groups such as ISIS and the Nusra Front.

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