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US Sanctions 3 Hizbullah Members, 2 of Them Parliamentarians

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday added three top Hizbullah members to its list of sanctioned individuals: two Lebanese parliamentarians and a security official. MPs Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra’ad were accused of acting on behalf of the terror organization, as was Wafiq Safa, who is in charge of Hizbullah’s Liaison and Coordination Unit, which coordinates with Lebanese security agencies. It is the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has placed members of Lebanon’s parliament on its sanctions list. The additions aim to counter Hizbullah’s “corrupting influence in Lebanon,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. He added that the three officials “have exploited their positions to smuggle illicit goods into Lebanon, pressure Lebanese financial institutions to assist Hizbullah, undermine Lebanese institutions, and evade US sanctions against Hizbullah facilitators and financiers.” The US blacklisted the Iranian proxy itself in October 1997, and on February 25, the United Kingdom followed suit, labeling the Tehran-backed entity a terrorist organization and criminalizing support with a prison sentence of up to 10 years.