US slaps sanctions on two Hizbullah MPs for first time

BEIRUT: Lebanon regrets the US imposition of sanctions on two members of the Lebanese parliament and will pursue the matter with the US authorities, President Michel Aoun said on Twitter on Wednesday.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al Hariri said on Wednesday that US sanctions targeting Hizbullah lawmakers for the first time marked “a new direction” but would not affect the work of parliament or government.

The US Treasury placed two Hizbullah members of Lebanon’s parliament on its sanctions blacklist on Tuesday — the first time Washington has taken aim at the Iran-allied group’s elected politicians. Stepping up its effort to build global pressure on the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement, the Treasury named MPs Amin Sherri and Mohammed Hasan Raad to a terror-related blacklist, saying that Hizbullah uses its parliamentary power to advance violent activities.Also placed on the blacklist was Wafiq Safa, a top Hizbullah official close to the movement’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US targeted three officials “who leverage their positions to facilitate Hizbullah and the Iranian regime’s malign efforts to undermine Lebanese sovereignty.” “Any distinction between Hizbullah’s political and military wings is artificial,” he said.
— AFP