Hezbollah 'impervious' to US sanctions, says leader

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah brushed off the notion of tougher US sanctions against the Iran-backed militant group, saying that it could not be harmed by the Trump administration.

Addressing supporters via videolink on Sunday as they marked the 11th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel, Hassan Nasrallah told the crowds that the US administration “will not be able to damage the strength of the resistance”, as well as urging political leaders to accept the survival of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

He went on to say that Lebanon has been subjected to intimidation and threats over his party and alleged that Lebanese officials had been told that Israel could launch a war.

He said both European and American officials had warned them “during diplomatic meetings and international visits… if you don’t do this, Israel will launch a war on Lebanon, and if Hezbollah doesn’t do this, Israel will launch a war on Lebanon”, although he did not specify what exactly had been asked of Lebanon or Hezbollah.

Although Hezbollah holds a firm place in Lebanon’s parliament and cabinet, it remains classed as a terrorist group by Washington.

President Donald Trump called the well-armed Shiite movement a “menace” last month, and US lawmakers are already pushing to increase the sanctions against them.

With regards to President Assad, Nasrallah said: “The Assad regime is here to stay, his army is here to stay, this Syrian state and its institutions are here to stay…President Bashar Assad is here to stay.”
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