|Date: 10/08/2012 Time: 08:33:00 PM
The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday
designated sanctions against Hezbollah for playing "active, integral role" in
supporting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime and Syria's state-run oil
company Sytrol for its oil sales to Iran.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group designated as a terrorist
organization by the U.S. since 1995, has directly trained Syrian government
personnel inside the country and has facilitated the training of Syrian forces
with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Treasury of Undersecretary for
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen told reporters in a briefing.
"For years the Assad regime has provided safe haven to Hezbollah training
camps and routed weapons and money in many cases from Iran to Hezbollah
operatives in Lebanon. Hezbollah is now paying its debt to Assad by providing
training, advice and extensive logistical support to the government of Syria.
Since the start of the unrest in Syria, Hezbollah has directly trained Syrian
government personnel inside Syria and facilitated the training of Syrian
forces by Iran's al Quds force," said Cohen, adding that Hezbollah has also
played a "substantial role" in efforts to expel Syrian opposition forces from
areas within Syria.
The State Department expressed its increasing concern about Hezbollah's
"Hezbollah and Iran will both maintain a heightened level of terrorist
activity and operations in the near future. We assess that Hezbollah could
attack in Europe and or elsewhere with little or no warning," said Ambassador
Daniel Benjamin Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State department.
The designation comes 17 months into the armed conflict between Syria
protesters and government soldiers.
The State Department also announced action against Syria's state-run oil
company Sytrol for conducting business with Iran's energy sector that allows
Iran to continue developing its nuclear program while providing the Syrian
government with resources to oppress its own people.
"The United States stands resolutely against sales of refined petroleum
product to Iran and will employ all available measures to bring it to a halt.
Moreover, any business that continues to irresponsibly support Iran's energy
sector or helps facilitate either nation's efforts to evade U.S. sanctions
will face serious consequences," the State department said in a statement.