U.S. Treasury Sanctions Three Companies for Supplying Hezbollah With Military Equipment

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Lebanon's Hezbollah members carry flags during the funeral of their fellow fighter killed in Syria. Credit: Reuters

The U.S. Treasury designated three entities for sanctions for procuring military equipment for Hezbollah, part of an intensified bid to isolate Iran and its proxies.

The Treasury on November 5th named Vatech SARL, a Lebanon-based company; Le-Hua Electronic Field Co., based in China; and Aero Skyone Co. Limited and Labico SAL Offshore, also based in China. Also named were the owners of the entities.

According to the Treasury statement, all three entities have supplied unmanned aerial vehicles and material for improvised explosive devices to Hezbollah.

Adam Szubin, the acting undersecretary of terrorism and financial intelligence, has in recent months told Israeli officials and Congress that his office is intensifying its scrutiny of Hezbollah, partly to demonstrate a commitment to monitoring Iranian disruptive activities in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss strategies for keeping Iran isolated when they meet in Washington next week.

One of Israel’s principal objections to the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal, negotiated by the Obama administration, was that sanctions relief would free Iran to expand its influence in the region. Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, launched a war against Israel in 2006 and is helping Bashar Assad, another Iranian client, maintain power in Syria.

“Today’s action highlights Hezbollah’s exploitation of the commercial sector to support its military capabilities and facilitate acts of terrorism,” Szubin said in the statement. “Treasury will pursue any individual or company providing support for this violent group.”

Treasury accused Hezbollah of sending to Yemen the IEDs manufactured with parts purchased by Le-Hua, for use by the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency in that country.

Separately, the Anti-Defamation League last week called on the Senate to confirm Szubin as undersecretary.

“Especially as all eyes are on how Iran complies with the recently reached nuclear agreement, blocking the confirmation of this watchdog would be counterproductive and send just the wrong signal,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO, said last week in a statement. “The Senate should send a clear message to the world that there is unflinching bipartisan support for enforcing U.S. sanctions against Iran.”

Szubin’s confirmation reportedly has been hindered by Republican unhappiness with Obama administration Iran and Russia policies.

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