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Rubio And Shaheen Urge Full Implementation Of Hizballah Sanctions

Apr 7, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today urged Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry to fully implement the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 that was signed into law last year. In the letters, the senators warn of the consequences of not continuing pressure on the terrorist group, and encourage broader designation of Hizballah as a terrorist organization.

The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, which Rubio and Shaheen authored, aims to sanction international financial institutions that knowingly engage in business with Hizballah and its enablers. Despite the Obama Administration’s efforts against the terrorist organization, financial institutions complicit in aiding these financiers are still not being punished.

“We are writing to encourage you to apply increased pressure on Hizballah, by fully implementing the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 that was signed into law last year and by seeking broader designation of Hizballah as a terrorist organization,” the senators wrote. “As you know, Hizballah has a long history of terrorist attacks against the United States and Israel.

“Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah publicly stated in 2013 that Hizballah would support Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime by sending fighters to Syria,” the senators continued. “We were pleased to see the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization.  It is unfortunate the European Union still only designates the ‘military wing’ of Hizballah. 

“It is important to continue pressure on Hizballah and its operatives to ensure it is not able to carry out terrorist or destabilizing activities, especially in light of Treasury’s statement in January that Hizballah continues to launder funds and foment violence in Lebanon, Syria, and across the region,” they added. “We should encourage the European Union to designate the entire Hizballah organization as a terrorist group and provide all necessary support to accomplish that goal.”

A PDF of the letters are available here and the full text is below:

Secretary Jacob Lew
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Secretary John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Lew and Secretary Kerry:

We are writing to encourage you to apply increased pressure on Hizballah, by fully implementing the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 that was signed into law last year and by seeking broader designation of Hizballah as a terrorist organization. 

As you know, Hizballah has a long history of terrorist attacks against the United States and Israel.  Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah publicly stated in 2013 that Hizballah would support Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime by sending fighters to Syria.  We were pleased to see the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization.  It is unfortunate the European Union still only designates the “military wing” of Hizballah.  It is important to continue pressure on Hizballah and its operatives to ensure it is not able to carry out terrorist or destabilizing activities, especially in light of Treasury’s statement in January that Hizballah continues to launder funds and foment violence in Lebanon, Syria, and across the region.  We should encourage the European Union to designate the entire Hizballah organization as a terrorist group and provide all necessary support to accomplish that goal.

We were pleased to see the Treasury Department sanction Hizballah financiers in January and the Drug Enforcement Agency arrests, but it is also important that financial institutions complicit in aiding these financiers are sanctioned for their activities.  The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 provides for mandatory sanctions against foreign financial institutions and we urge you to aggressively utilize this authority to target the very financial institutions that allow Hizballah to transfer money for its nefarious activities.  We strongly urge you to designate a financial institution to send an important signal about our bipartisan resolve in countering Hizballah’s activities.

We are interested in receiving a briefing on your Administration’s efforts to implement the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 and efforts to convince Europe to join the United States and our Arab and Gulf allies in condemning Hizballah as a terrorist organization.  The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 required the submission of reports (Sec.101(a), Sec.102(d), Sec.203(a), and Sec.204(a)) and briefings (Sec.203(b) and Sec.204(b)) not later than 90 days after the date of enactment, please update us on the status of these reports and briefings.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Jeanne Shaheen