UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The United States imposed new sanctions on Wednesday on the Secretary-General of the Hezbollah Brigades, the pro-Iranian Iraqi faction, with the aim of “increasing pressure” on Tehran and its allies.
The State Department considered the Secretary-General of the Hezbollah Brigades, Ahmed al-Hamidawi, “a particularly specific global terrorist” and froze any assets he might have in the United States and criminalized any American dealings with him.
The group has a close relationship with Iran and has been on the US terrorist lists since 2009.
“Today, we are intensifying our pressure on this terrorist group,” State Department counterterrorism chief, Nathan Siles, told a news conference.
He said that the group’s goal is to “promote the goal of the Iranian regime to turn Iraq into a dependent state.”
The State Department noted that Hezbollah Brigades launched a series of rocket attacks on December 27 on an Iraqi base where US soldiers are stationed, killing an American civilian contractor.
This increased tension, and the United States bombed targets of armed factions, killing the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a strike near Baghdad International Airport.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that there are indications that the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades was behind bloody sniping operations targeting demonstrators in October in Baghdad.
Demonstrations that took place throughout Iraq in protest against the economic situation led to the overthrow of the government.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Allawi and urged the government to protect American forces.
After the killing of Soleimani, he called on the Iraqi parliament to “end the presence” of foreign forces, which was rejected by US President Donald Trump, threatening to impose sanctions on Iraq in the event that US forces are forced to leave its lands.
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