U.S. sanctions Hezbollah chief in joint action with Gulf allies

A general view of the Saudi capital Riyadh

The United States has imposed additional sanctions on Hezbollah leadership in Lebanon, saying it is "destabilizing the entire region".

The US and Saudi-led Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center said the sanctions were aimed at Hezbollah's Shura Council, the powerful Lebanese terrorist group's decision-making council, led by the Shiite group's secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah.

In a statement on its website, the US Treasury Department said that it had imposed sanctions on the members of Hezbollah Shura council in partnership with Saudi Arabia and other Persian gulf Arab states.

As a member state of Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC), Kuwait made the decision along with the United States, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman, the source added. In addition, the sanctions reject the "false distinction" between the group's political and military wings.

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The deputy chief of Hezbollah, Sheik Naim Qassem, casts his ballot during Lebanon's parliamentary elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 6, 2018.

The Gulf states targeted four of the movement's committees and ordered individuals' assets and bank accounts frozen.

The US government has been expanding sanctions targeting Iranian firms and individuals.

The announcement followed two USA moves in the past week to put pressure on Iran's financial networks, including sanctions announced Tuesday that aimed at an alleged financial pipeline that moved "hundreds of millions of dollars" from Iran's central bank through an Iraqi bank to Hezbollah. 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".

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Khalil, Nasrallah's political advisor, was one of several senior "Hezbollah" commanders who shared responsibility for the group's special operations in Europe.

The move comes a week after US President Donald Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and that he would be re-imposing sanctions on Tehran.

Washington's claims against Hezbollah come while the movement has been playing a significant role in the Syrian army's fight against Takfiri terror groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of the militancy gripping neighboring Syria into Lebanon.

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