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U.S., Gulf Nations Hit Iranian Ally Hizballah With New Sanctions

The United States and its Persian Gulf allies say they have slapped new sanctions on the leadership of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizballah militia, targeting its top two officials.

The U.S. Treasury Department said on May 16 that Hizballah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy, Naim Qassem, were among 13 individuals and entities hit with the sanctions.

The Treasury said the actions targeted the "primary decision-making body" of Hizballah -- an organization that plays an influential role in Lebanese politics but is also an armed militia involved in the Syrian conflict.

"By targeting Hizballah's Shura Council, our nations collectively rejected the false distinction between a so-called 'political wing' and Hizballah's global terrorist plotting," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The sanctions were imposed by Washington and U.S. allies within the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC), consisting of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Some of those targeted in the latest move had previously been hit with U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. Congress has also placed sanctions on the militia, describing it as Tehran's "terrorist proxy."

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


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