The US Treasury unveiled a new round of sanctions on the leadership of Lebanese Hizbollah, in a joint action co-ordinated with US regional allies. 

The US Treasury said it was designating, in partnership with Saudi Arabia and five other Middle Eastern states, members of Hizbollah’s primary decision-making body. Among those targeted with sanctions was Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah secretary-general. 

The moves against the Iran-backed group came a day after the Treasury targeted the governor of Iran’s central bank as part of an escalating series of measures clamping down on that country’s economy. The Treasury imposed sanctions against Iranian central bankers for allegedly helping to move millions of dollars from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force to Lebanon’s Hizbollah, which the US considers a terrorist organisation. 

Last week the US said it acted jointly with the United Arab Emirates to disrupt a currency exchange network in Iran and the UAE that it accused of transferring millions of dollars in cash to the Quds Force.

The move against Hizbollah leaders on Wednesday was taken by members of the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center, an organisation set up by the US and its partners in May last year. The other states involved were Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

Among the individuals designated by the US is Naim Qasim, deputy secretary-general of Hizbollah. Some of those targeted had previously been blacklisted.

“By targeting Hizbollah’s Shura Council, our nations collectively rejected the false distinction between a so-called ‘Political Wing’ and Hizbollah’s global terrorist plotting,” said Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary.

“Under the dictates of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force . . . secretary-general and head of the Shura Council Hassan Nasrallah is prolonging the human suffering in Syria, fuelling the violence in Iraq and Yemen, putting the Lebanese state and the Lebanese people at risk, and destabilising the entire region.”

Mr Trump’s administration is engaged in escalating sanctions on Iran. They come after the president’s decision to ditch the Iran nuclear accord — a move that has left nations scrambling to understand the implications for business ties to Iran. The Treasury has given parties with commercial interests in Iran periods ranging from 90 to 180 days to wind down affected activities.

Among the upcoming actions, the Trump administration is planning to re-impose sanctions on the acquisition of US dollar banknotes by Iran’s government as of August. In November it will impose sanctions on transactions by financial institutions with the Iranian central bank, as well as designated Iranian financial institutions.

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