Hezbollah condemns US sanctions on ex-Lebanese FM

The Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement has condemned the US sanctions against the Middle Eastern country’s former Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil over corruption allegations and his close ties with the group.

“This is a pure political decision and a blatant interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Hezbollah as saying in a statement on Friday.

“America is using its domestic laws, including anti-terrorism and anti-corruption laws, to extend its hegemony and influence over the world,” it added.

Earlier in the day, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Bassil, also the leader of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement, for corruption, embezzlement of public funds, obstructing reforms and establishing ties with Hezbollah.

“The systemic corruption in Lebanon’s political system exemplified by Bassil has helped to erode the foundation of an effective government that serves the Lebanese people,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, was quoted as saying in a statement released by his Department.

In response, Bassil said the sanctions imposed by the US did not scare him, noting he had not been “tempted by promises”.

“I do not turn against any Lebanese and I do not save myself to let Lebanon perish,” he said in a Twitter post following the announcement.