Middle east

US imposed sanctions on Iranian ambassador to Iraq, and two senior Hezbollah officials

The Department of Treasury declared that the United States imposed on Thursday sanctions on Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, and two senior Hezbollah officials.

A statement from the Treasury Department reported that a close adviser to former IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani, Masjedi played a formative role in the IRGC-QF’s Iraq policy.

According to the same statement, Masjedi has overseen a program of training and support to Iraqi militia groups, and he has directed or supported groups that are responsible for attacks that have killed and wounded US and coalition forces in Iraq.

Moreover, the US declared that as ambassador, the Iranian diplomat led financial transfers to benefit the IRGC-QF. Whereas, the Treasury Department said, in a separate statement, that the sanctions imposed also on two members of Iran-backed Hezbollah’s Central Council.

Treasury added: The Central Council is responsible for identifying and electing the group’s highest decision-making body, the Shura Council, which formulates policy and asserts control over all aspects of Hezbollah’s activities, including its military activities.

Otherwise, Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, affirmed that the group required continuing to be held responsible for its horrific actions as we approach the 37th anniversary of Hezbollah’s bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

The US official reported that Hezbollah’s senior leaders are responsible for creating and implementing the terrorist organization’s destabilizing and violent agenda against US interests and those of our partners around the world.

Protecting the Iraqi people and restricting Hezbollah’s activities

In the same context, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, defended the step to sanction Masjedi, and he said in a statement: Today, the United States is taking another step to protect the Iraqi people from malign IRGC-QF influence by designating Iraj Masjedi, a senior IRGC-QF general in Iraq who also serves as Iran’s ambassador to Iraq.

Pompeo also related that the Iranian diplomat and IRGC general previously confessed to training militias in Iraq and Syria. About the designations of the two Hezbollah officials, Pompeo declared that the group is stilled a terrorist threat to the US, to its allies and its interests in the Middle East and globally.

Pompeo affirmed again that commitment of Washington to take action to disrupt Hezbollah’s operations and promote accountability for its terrorist acts.

He also said, after hours that Saad Hariri was designated to form a new government in Lebanon where the group exerts significant power in the political scene: All responsible nations must take appropriate steps to restrict Hezbollah’s activities and constrain its influence.

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