UK Treasury Announces Freeze on All Hezbollah Financial Assets
The UK government announced on Friday that it would add the entirety of Hezbollah — Iran’s Shi’a proxy based in Lebanon — to its list of terrorist groups that are subject to asset freezing, drawing a line under its earlier position that sanctions against Hezbollah should apply only to its “military wing” and not its so-called “political wing.”
A statement from the UK Treasury said that the new designation “aligns with the decision made last year by the Chancellor — when Home Secretary — to proscribe the entire organization.”
Last February, Sajid Javid — who was then Home Secretary and is now Chancellor of the Exchequer in Boris Johnson’s recently-elected Conservative government — announced that Hezbollah in its entirety would be designated as a terror entity.
“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East — and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party,” Javid said at the time. “Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”
Under the new measures announced on Friday, any individual or institution in Britain with accounts or financial services that are connected to Hezbollah must suspend them or face prosecution.
Sheila Gewolb — senior vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — stated on Friday, “We welcome this important step by the Treasury. Hezbollah’s genocidal intentions are clear. Keeping their flags off our streets and their financial assets frozen is vital in making the world a safer place.”
Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman and CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, “We applaud the decision of the government of the United Kingdom to designate the political arm of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”
“Previously, only the military forces had been designated by the UK,” they noted. “Now the entirety of Hezbollah is rightfully designated for what it is — a pernicious Iranian proxy which has committed countless atrocities in the Middle East and across the globe.”
“This important action by the UK follows the Bundestag’s recent overwhelming vote in favor of banning Hezbollah within Germany,” Stark and Hoenlein added. “We strongly encourage other countries to act against Hezbollah.”