U.S. Congressmen Urge EU to Designate Hezbollah as a Terrorist Group

In a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton, 75 congressmen cite Hezbollah's links to Iran and insist it endangers all European citizens.

U.S. Congressmen have increased pressure on the European Union to designate the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

A letter signed by 75 U.S. Congressmen sent to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, a copy of which was seen by DPA on Saturday, cited Hezbollah's links to Iran and said the militant group was still pursuing terrorist activities. It gave no details.

"The EU should recognize Hezbollah for what it is - a terrorist organization - and stand with the United States against Hezbollah in all its forms," the letter said.

"We believe the evidence and dangers posed by Hezbollah and Iran to all European citizens are serious enough to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization," it stated.

"A terrorist designation from the EU would not only subject Hezbollah to further sanctions, but would also send a message to Hezbollah that Europe and the United States will not tolerate its dangerous and violent tactics."

The United States designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1995. The group denies it is involved in terrorism and says it needs its weapons to defend Lebanon against Israel, which fought a devastating war with the group in 2006.

Hezbollah's weapons are a contentious issue in Lebanon, where many political parties want the group to disarm. Hezbollah has members in the Lebanese parliament and ministers in the government.