Top Lebanese lawmaker: US sanctions an 'assault'

Top Lebanese lawmaker: US sanctions an 'assault'
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Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday said that new U.S. sanctions on the country are an "assault." 

The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed sanctions on three top Lebanese officials due to alleged ties to the Iran-backed Hezbollah.  

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“It is an assault on the Parliament and, as a result, an assault on all of Lebanon,” Berri said in a statement, Reuters reported Wednesday.

According to the news outlet, Berri is a Shiite ally of Hezbollah.

An aide to Berri also said in a TV interview Tuesday night that the sanctions are not justifiable.  

“These sanctions are unwarranted and do not serve financial stability,” Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said, according to Reuters. “Lebanon and its banks are committed to all the legislation and there is no justification at all for escalating these sanctions.”

Lawmakers Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra’d, as well as Hezbollah security official Wafiq Safa, were sanctioned by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control under an executive order that targets individuals providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

“Hizballah uses its operatives in Lebanon’s parliament to manipulate institutions in support of the terrorist group’s financial and security interests, and to bolster Iran’s malign activities,” Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement when the sanctions were announced.