The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a series of bills targeting both Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah.
In a voice vote, a unanimous majority of Democratic and Republic lawmakers approved four resolutions: H.R. 1698 – Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act; H.R. 359 – Urging the European Union to designate Hizbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization; H.R. 3342 – Sanctioning Hizbollah’s Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act; and H.R. 3329 – Hizbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2017.
The Iran bill imposes additional sanctions on individuals or entities that help the Islamic Republic develop ballistic missiles and other conventional weapons. The bill is a followup to sanctions passed against Iran, as well as North Korea and Russia, in July. Wednesday’s resolution would expand those Iran sanctions, and requires the Trump administration to create an implementation plan.
The bills targeting Hezbollah seek to impose economic sanctions on members of the terror group who have violated human rights, and to levy penalties on entities—including financial institutions and foreign government agencies—that support Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah is one of the principle agents of violence and chaos in the Middle East. They are Iran’s proxy terrorist army, and confronting them in this manner is a good step towards minimizing the harm they and their backers in Tehran can cause. We look forward to the president signing this bill into law,” said Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, regarding the legislation on Hezbollah’s financing.
H.R. 359, meanwhile, addresses the fact that the EU has previously only designated Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terror group, in 2013. The U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, Bahrain, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council have fully designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) urged the EU to take appropriate action.
“Pressing the EU to do the right thing, and finish what the 28 members started to do in 2013, is essential to effectively countering the global Hezbollah threat,” said AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy Jason Isaacson.