Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that Iranian fuel shipments that Hezbollah brought into the country is a “violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty,” according to statements posted by his office on Twitter.
The office quoted the Prime Minister as saying – in an interview with CNN – “I am saddened by the violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.”
But he added, “I have no fear of sanctions, because the operation took place in isolation from the Lebanese government.”
On Thursday, Hezbollah began bringing in trucks carrying fuel coming from Iran, in a move it says will ease the severe energy crisis in the country.
The tanker carried the fuel to Syria before transporting it to Lebanon. Both Syria and Iran are subject to US sanctions.
And the United States announced today, Friday, that it had imposed sanctions on financial channels operating from Lebanon and Kuwait and financing the Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as on companies described as fronts that support the party and Iran.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions include businessman Morteza Minaei Hashemi, who lives in China, and who is accused of having funneled money to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force.
A ministry statement said two Chinese helped Hashemi open bank accounts and acted as legal owners of his Hong Kong- and mainland-based companies.
“Together, these networks laundered tens of millions of dollars through regional financial systems, and conducted currency exchange, gold and electronics trade for the benefit of both Hezbollah and the Quds Force,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.
“Hezbollah uses the revenues generated by these networks to fund terrorist activities and prolong instability in Lebanon and throughout the region,” the statement added.
Blinken said Hezbollah is increasingly looking for additional sources of income to bolster its coffers, and he called on governments around the world to take steps to ensure that the party and others do not exploit their territory and financial institutions.
The Treasury Department said that the sanctions include the confiscation of the property of these entities and individuals in the United States, and all dealings with them are prohibited.