Parliament chief: US bans on Hezbollah MPs ‘assault on all of Lebanon’

Press TV – Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has denounced American sanctions on lawmakers from the Hezbollah resistance movement as an “assault” against not only the parliament but the entire Lebanese nation.

“It is an assault on the parliament and as a result an assault on all of Lebanon,” Berri said in a statement on Wednesday.

The remarks came one day after the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Hezbollah members of Lebanon’s parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between the resistance movement and the country’s security agencies.

It placed MPs Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra’d as well as Wafiq Safa, a top Hezbollah security official, on its blacklist, claiming that the trio had “assisted” Iran in its alleged efforts “to undermine Lebanese sovereignty.”

Washington also accused the individuals of “undermining Lebanese financial institutions to assist Hezbollah and to evade US sanctions against” the resistance group.

It was the first time that the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control put Lebanese parliamentarians on its sanctions list.

Separately, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the designations were meant to counter Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon.

In response, Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil warned that the “unwarranted” US bans “do not serve financial stability.”

“Lebanon and its banks are committed to all the legislation and there is no justification at all for escalating these sanctions,” he added.

Moreover, Lebanese lawmaker Ali Fayyad slammed the US move as “a humiliation for the Lebanese people.”Hezbollah was formed following the Israeli regime’s invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing occupation of its southern parts in 1980s, and currently constitutes Lebanon’s de facto military power.

Since then, the movement has helped the national army retake the occupied regions from Tel Aviv and thwart two Israeli acts of aggression in 2000 and 2006.

It has also been playing a significant role in the Syrian army’s fight against Takfiri terror groups, including Daesh and Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of the war into Lebanon.

Some 50 Hezbollah individuals and entities have been blacklisted by the Treasury since 2017.

In May 2018, the United States and its partners in the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC), which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, imposed sanctions on Hezbollah leadership, targeting its Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem.

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