The recently imposed sanctions on Hizbullah might “expedite” the government formation process rather than delay it, caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Tuesday.
“There is a decision to speed up the government formation and I believe that the sanctions on Hizbullah might expedite the formation process rather than delay it,” Hariri told LBCI television.
The United States and the six Gulf Arab states announced sanctions Wednesday on the leadership of Hizbullah, as Washington seeks to step up economic pressure on Iran and its allies in the region after President Donald Trump withdrew this month from the 2015 nuclear deal.
The U.S. and Saudi-led Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center said the sanctions were aimed at Hizbullah's Shura Council, the group's decision-making body, led by its secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Nasrallah, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qasim and three other Shura Council members were listed under the joint sanctions, which aim at freezing vulnerable assets of those named and blocking their access to global financial networks.
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 Hizbullah that were already blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury.
The sanctions by Gulf states follow two U.S. moves this month to put pressure on Iran's financial networks, including sanctions announced Tuesday aimed at an alleged financial pipeline that moved "hundreds of millions of dollars" from Iran's central bank through an Iraqi bank to Hizbullah.
The European Union has viewed Hizbullah's armed wing as a "terrorist" organization since 2013.
In 2016, the six Arab Sunni powers of the Gulf Co-operation Council -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman - designated Hizbullah a "terrorist" organization.