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US, Gulf states designate Hezbollah chief Nasrallah as terror sponsor

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A general view of the Saudi capital Riyadh

The United States has imposed additional sanctions on Hezbollah leadership in Lebanon, saying it is "destabilizing the entire region".

The Shura Council is Hezbollah's premier decision-making body responsible for religious, military, and strategic matters and asserts control over administrative, planning, and policy-making authorities.

At the same time, the six Gulf members of the TFTC - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates - declared sanctions on another nine individuals and firms part of or linked to Hezbollah that were already blacklisted by the US Treasury.

Hezbollah's Shura Council was targeted according to a statement released by the U.S Treasury, "specifically Hasan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General" of the group.

Besides Nasrallah and Qassem, the sanctions also target Mohammead Yazbeck, Hussein al- Khalil, and Ibrahim al-Amin al-Sayyed for their terrorism links, said the Treasury.

"By targeting Hezbollah's Shura Council, our nations collectively rejected the false distinction between a so-called "Political Wing" and Hezbollah's global terrorist plotting", Mnuchin added.

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The joint action also targeted four other individuals and entities that the US had previously sanctioned.

This is the second TFTC designation action since the center was announced on May 21, 2017. Since President Donald Trump announced the policy-shift on Iran, the USA has sanctioned the nation's central bank governor and an Iran-linked currency exchange network. He is the current leader of the Judicial Council and has overseen a military command in central Lebanon that provides logistical and training support to "Hezbollah".

These designations follow U.S President Trump's decision last week to cease US participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and to begin reimposing USA nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian regime.

The U.S. move comes just over a week after Hezbollah and its political allies looked set to emerge as the most powerful alliance in Lebanon's next parliament.

Washington's claims against Hezbollah come while the movement has been playing a significant role in the Syrian army's fight against Takfiri terror groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, thus preventing the spillover of the militancy gripping neighboring Syria into Lebanon.

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