President Donald Trump signed new sanctions on Thursday targeting the Iranian-funded militant group and political party known as Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
“Over the past year we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah – in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving for them,” Trump said during an event marking the 35th anniversary of the attack on US Marine barracks in Beirut.
The legislation, known as the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican. The bill ramps up reporting requirements and places further financial and economic sanctions on the group.
“We will target, disrupt and dismantle their operational and financing efforts, of which they have plenty … and we will never forget what they did to our Marines in Beirut,” the President added.
The President used the attack, which was perpetrated by Hezbollah, to criticize Iran before announcing new sanctions on the group, saying “Iran was instrumental in founding Hezbollah” and remains “its main patron today.”
Speaking about the Islamic Republic, Trump said, “We are doing a big number on Iran today, in case you haven’t noticed. I’ll tell you what, they’re not the same country they were when I first took office.”
He added that Iranians are now “rioting in their streets.”
“Their money’s collapsed. Their lives are a lot different, and they’re not looking so much for the Mediterranean. … Now they want to survive. It’s a whole different deal,” he said, later calling the Iran nuclear deal the “Iran nuclear disaster.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the sanctions “will further isolate Hizballah from the international financial system and reduce its funding.”
“These sanctions will target foreign persons and government agencies that knowingly assist or support Hizballah, and Hizballah-affiliated networks that engage in drug trafficking or other transnational crime,” she added.
Rubio thanked Trump for signing the legislation.
“As Beirut Marine families seek justice in U.S. courts against those responsible for this heinous attack, I urge the Administration, through the Solicitor General, to tell the U.S. Supreme Court that it opposes the Iranian terrorist regime’s request to overturn a federal appeals court decision preventing $1.7 billion in frozen assets from returning to the Central Bank of Iran,” he said in a statement.