BEIRUT, Lebanon — A Hezbollah lawmaker on Tuesday slammed the Unites States’ move to place two of the group’s parliamentarians on its sanctions blacklist as a “humiliation” for Lebanon.
The US decision “is a humiliation for the Lebanese people,” Ali Fayyad told Lebanon’s MTV news channel, according to its website, and called on parliament and the government to issue a formal condemnation.
The US Treasury added Lebanese lawmakers Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Raad to a terror-related blacklist, saying that the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah they belong to uses its parliamentary power to advance its terrorist activities.
Also placed on the blacklist was Wafiq Safa, a top official of the Iran-allied terror group.
“Hezbollah uses its operatives in Lebanon’s parliament to manipulate institutions in support of the terrorist group’s financial and security interests, and to bolster Iran’s malign activities,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The move — the first by Washington to target Hezbollah elected politicians — came as the US bolsters pressure on Iran and its proxies in the Middle East.
Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, European nations and Israel, among others.
Hezbollah fighters have backed government forces in neighboring Syria in the civil war that broke out there in 2011 and last fought a war with Israel in 2006.
Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil meanwhile tweeted that the US sanctions “concern all of the Lebanese even if they are directed at Hezbollah” and are “unjustified.”
After the US Treasury’s announcement, Hezbollah television Al-Manar said the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, was due to appear Friday on TV.
Nasrallah is due to address a series of Lebanese and regional issues and is expected to also discuss the latest sanctions.
Hezbollah was established in 1982 during Lebanon’s civil war, and is now a major political player in the country. It won 13 seats out of 128 in the May 6, 2018 general election, and holds three cabinet posts.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.