US, Gulf Arab states place sanctions on Hezbollah leadership

The US Treasury had previously designated Nasrallah for disrupting the Middle East peace process in 1995 and for actions in Syria in 2012. EPA  AL-MANAR TV GRAB

The US Treasury had previously designated Nasrallah for disrupting the Middle East peace process in 1995 and for actions in Syria in 2012. EPA AL-MANAR TV GRAB

Hassan Nasrallah was sanctioned for acting on behalf of Hezbollah, which he has led since 1992, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

The Shura Council is Hezbollah's premier decision-making body responsible for religious, military, and strategic matters and asserts control over administrative, planning, and policy-making authorities.

Saudi Arabia state security said Wednesday that it has added 10 Hezbollah militia leaders to its terror list, five of whom are the Lebanese militia's Shoura Council members.

"The TFTC again demonstrated its great value to global security by disrupting Iran and Hezbollah's destabilizing influence in the region", said US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a statement. On May 15, the administration announced that they would be slapping Iran's central bank with sanctions for being used as a vehicle to funnel funds between Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

The deputy chief of Hezbollah, Sheik Naim Qassem, casts his ballot during Lebanon's parliamentary elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 6, 2018. He is the current leader of the Judicial Council and has overseen a military command in central Lebanon that provides logistical and training support to "Hezbollah".

Hezbollah was formed following the Israeli regime's invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing occupation of its southern parts in 1980s, and now constitutes Lebanon's de facto military power.

At the same time, the six Gulf members of the TFTC - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates - declared sanctions on another nine individuals and firms part of or linked to Hezbollah that were already blacklisted by the US Treasury. Since President Donald Trump announced the policy-shift on Iran, the US has sanctioned the nation's central bank governor and an Iran-linked currency exchange network.

During that speech, Trump accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of supporting terrorism and called its role in region "sinister".

Tensions have increased among the U.S., Iran, and Shiite Muslim groups in the Middle East over the past week after President TrumpDonald John TrumpOregon governor to face state rep in November Ashford, Eastman neck and neck in Nebraska Dem primary Progressive pick Wild wins Dem primary for Pa. House seat MORE announced he would pull the U.S. from the multination Iran nuclear deal.

Background: The United States sanctioned four individuals and one entity on May 15 with ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force and Hezbollah.