The U.S. government on Thursday sanctioned a Hezbollah commander and a number of other operatives and financiers linked to the militant group who it said were working to destabilize the Middle East.
The State Department added Hezbollah commander Haytham Ali Tabatabai to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, which “imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism.”
Tabatabai has commanded Hezbollah special forces, operated in Syria, and is now believed to be in Yemen, the State Department said. His actions in Syria and Yemen “are part of a larger Hezbollah effort to provide training, materiel and personnel in support of its destabilizing regional activities.”
Lebanon-based Hezbollah has operated openly and in significant numbers in neighboring Syria, as well as alongside some fellow Shiite fighters in Iraq. Hezbollah has long supported Syrian President Bashar Assad, providing training, advice and extensive logistical support, while also helping his government regain control of some rebel-held areas in central Syria.
The Treasury Department also sanctioned Tabatabai and a number of other individuals on Thursday under a standing executive order that prohibits U.S. banks from having any dealings with “persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism” and blocks any property or assets they may have in the United States.
Treasury said it was a joint action with Saudi Arabia aimed at “disrupting Hezbollah’s worldwide commercial and financial infrastructure.”
In 2012, the Treasury Department further sanctioned Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah for helping the Syrian regime crush anti-government protests.