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Washington Escalates Pressure against ‘Hezbollah’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Supreme Court stands in Washington May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Beirut – A US court paused accusations, on Friday, against Kassem Tajeddine, a Lebanese businessman who has close ties with “Hezbollah”, of evading US sanctions for financing terrorism.

This step has reinforced US approach to put pressure on “Hezbollah” and its financial environment. The act was confused for whether it is a resumption of an old path but in a quicker pace or an execution of a new US policy that boycotts that of former US President Barack Obama regarding assimilating the Iranian expansion in the region.

The mounting US pressure is not restricted to “Hezbollah” but reaches the Lebanese government, given that there are two ministers that represent this party in it as well as other private entities that have relations with “Hezbollah”.

US pressures were embodied, in the past two days, with charging Tajeddine and fining the American University of Beirut (AUB) after accusing it of providing assistance to three organizations affiliated to “Hezbollah”.

Tajeddine faces accusations of being an “important financial contributor” to “Hezbollah” – On March 12, he was arrested in Morocco then deported to the US.

The Lebanese businessman was formally charged in a US federal court in Washington nearly eight years after the US named him a “specially designated global terrorist” for gathering tens of million dollars to “Hezbollah”.

“Because of his support for Hezbollah, the US government imposed sanctions on Kassem Tajeddine in 2009 that barred him from doing business with US individuals and companies,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement.

But the charges unveiled Friday did not accuse him of any recent provision of financial support to Hezbollah. Instead, he was accused of restructuring his business organization after the 2009 designation in order to evade the sanctions and continue doing business with US companies.

Kassem Kassir, political researcher close to “Hezbollah”, denied Tajeddine having any ties with the party adding that this case falls under the “US steps to strangle “Hezbollah” environment.”