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U.S., Gulf Nations Sanction Iranian Financing Network Over Hezbollah Support

Flag in front of Iran’s Foreign Ministry building in Tehran (Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters)

The U.S. and six Gulf nations on Wednesday slapped sanctions on businesses and individuals who have expressed support for Iran’s military and the Tehran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.

The fresh sanctions against a network of 25 corporations, banks, and individuals were designed by the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, which is co-chaired by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Both countries were joined in implementing the new sanctions by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. has designated both Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the Treasury said recruits child soldiers and tortures those it captures, as terrorist organizations.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the plan to disrupt the financial networks Iran uses to fund terrorism a “powerful demonstration of Gulf unity.”

“We are proud to join forces with our TFTC partners to expose and condemn the Iranian regime’s gross and repeated violations of international norms, from attacking critical oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia to fomenting strife in neighboring countries through regional proxies such as Hizballah,” Mnuchin added. “This coordinated action is a concrete step towards denying the Iranian regime the ability to undermine the stability of the region.”

The new sanctions come during Mnuchin’s trip to the Middle East, where he plans to work with Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon on an economic development plan.

The move is the latest development in the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, which has crippled the Iranian economy, although banned trade and terror funding continues to flow into the regime through blackmarket channels.

Tensions with Iran have spiked since the Trump administration pulled out of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal in May of last year, and reinstated heavy sanctions on the state terror sponsor. In recent months, the U.S. has placed blame on Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz as well as the September attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

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