Washington, DC – The Latest on the House’s consideration of sanctions legislation targeting Iran and Hezbollah (all times local):
The House has passed legislation to block the flow of money to the Iran-backed Hezbollah and to sanction the militant group for using civilians as human shields.
Lawmakers approved the measures by voice vote.
One of the bills directs the Trump administration to sanction people and businesses engaged in fundraising and recruitment for Hezbollah.
Rep. Ed Royce of California says Hezbollah has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, including Americans. He says the measures hold Hezbollah “accountable for its acts of death and destruction.”
A separate vote is scheduled for Thursday on a bill to sanction Iran for ballistic missile development.
Hezbollah is a member of Lebanon’s coalition government and the House measure touched off alarms in Beirut, where officials feared major damage might be done to the country’s banking sector if the bill is signed into law.
But Joseph Torbey, head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, told reporters earlier this week that U.S. officials have reassured a Lebanese banking delegation that visited Washington recently the sanctions won’t target Lebanese banks as long as they abide by American regulations.
Washington considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has previously imposed sanctions on the group and its top commanders. The expected new sanctions come at a time when the Trump administration is increasing pressure on Iran, Hezbollah’s main backer that has been supplying the group with weapons and money for more than three decades.
A separate House resolution that also passed Wednesday urges the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. The measure says the EU in 2013 gave only the terrorist designation to the group’s so-called “military wing.” Hezbollah “continues to conduct illicit narco-trafficking, money laundering, and weapons trafficking throughout Europe,” according to the resolution.
“These critical measures will impose new sanctions to crack down on Hezbollah’s financing, and hold it accountable for its acts of death and destruction,” Royce said.
The House is poised to pass bipartisan legislation that would hit Iran with new sanctions for its pursuit of long-range ballistic missiles and block the flow of money to the Tehran-backed Hezbollah militant group
The Iran sanctions bill requires the Trump administration to find and sanction companies and individuals inside and outside of Iran that are the main suppliers of Tehran’s ballistic missile programs.
Votes are scheduled for later Wednesday.
Republican Rep. Ed Royce and Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel sponsored the bills.
The legislation doesn’t undermine the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. President Donald Trump has threatened to unravel the international accord aimed at preventing Iran from building atomic weapons.
Washington Post/The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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