Lebanese banks have begun to comply with the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, a US bill which aims to sanction international financial institutions that knowingly facilitate Hezbollah’s activities, but Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah defiantly confirmed that his terror organization is funded directly by Iran.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that Hezbollah’s funds come directly from Iran.
“We openly say that Hezbollah’s budget and funds come directly from the Islamic Republic of Iran, not via the banks,” he said in an address on the Hezbollah affiliated Al-Manar channel on Friday.
He made the remarks in response to recent moves by Lebanese banks to comply with the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, US legislation that aims to sanction international financial institutions that knowingly facilitate Hezbollah’s activities.
The US bill, which was passed last December, seeks to “prevent Hezbollah’s global logistics and financial network from operating in order to curtail funding of its domestic and international activities,” and to “utilize diplomatic, legislative, and executive avenues to combat Hezbollah’s criminal activities in order to block that organization’s ability to fund its global terrorist activities.”
Nasrallah said Hezbollah “rejects” the bill which “targets the Resistance environment,” saying that the bill has not affected the Lebanon-based terror organization financially because it does not run business projects or investment institutions that benefit from banks and all their funds come directly from Iran. “As we used to receive rockets from Iran to fight Israel, we now get the Iranian funds,” he openly admitted.
Nasrallah thanked Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Republic for their “continuous support to Hezbollah.”
There were reports in May that the Lebanese treasury has begun to pay the salaries of ministers belonging to the Hezbollah party in cash in an attempt to dodge the US law.
Nasrallah also denied the reports that claimed that Hezbollah was in the worse financial state it has been in in decades, labeling them as “stupid and childish.”
Speaking in May, Adam Szubin, the US Treasury Department’s acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told lawmakers from the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, “After many years of sanctions targeting Hezbollah, today the group is in its worst financial shape in decades. And I can assure you that, alongside our international partners, we are working hard to put them out of business.”
The powerful Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, has begun to shut down accounts linked to Hezbollah, and Riad Salameh, governor of Lebanon’s central bank, said that he will comply with the International Financing Prevention Act.
Nasrallah called for “protecting the party’s environment from the sanctions,” and charged that some of the banks “went too far and implemented measures that were not even requested by the Americans themselves.”
“They removed the accounts of charitable associations whose names were not mentioned in the US blacklist. Is this a legal and humanitarian behavior or is it an attack on people?”
“Does targeting a large segment of the Lebanese serve the country’s economics?” Nasrallah asked the banks, accusing them of harming the national economic interests.
Nasrallah said that Hezbollah is open to “positive solutions and discussions with the concerned parties for the banking crisis.”
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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