On 24 January, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on three people and related organizations over allegations that they had been paying Hezbollah with money, Anadolu News Agency reported.
Hassan Moukalled, a Lebanese money changer, his company, CTEX Exchange, and his two sons are at the center of the sanctions.
“Hassan Moukalled, a Lebanon-based economist, has worked in close coordination with senior Hezbollah financial officials to help Hezbollah establish a presence in Lebanon’s financial system. He serves as a financial advisor to Hezbollah and carries out business deals on behalf of the group throughout the region,” the department said in a statement.
Sanctions also apply to two other companies Moukalled owns or controls: the Lebanese Company for Information and Studies (LCIS), where he serves as editor-in-chief, and the Lebanese Company for Publishing, Media, and Research and Studies (LCPMR), where he serves as director.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said the US government is to blame for preventing Lebanon from accepting Iranian fuel shipments that could help with the country’s dire energy crisis.
“Iran’s fuel offer is still existing, but the US has been preventing Lebanon from accepting it,” the Hezbollah chief said on 17 January 2022 before urging US allies in Lebanon to call on their friends in Washington to obtain a sanctions waiver for Iranian fuel.
“Months ago, we were told to secure fuel from Iran for six months, to raise the hours of electricity supply to 8 hours, and put Lebanon on the track of a solution,” the Hezbollah chief said in reference to demands made by Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati.
Nasrallah went on to say that Hezbollah managed to get Iran to agree to Beirut’s terms. However, no movement has been made, reportedly due to US pressure on officials.
On 19 January, Hezbollah’s Secretary General called for the election of a president for Lebanon “who is ready for sacrifice and is not concerned with US threats.”
“We want a president who, if the Americans blow on him, he won’t flutter from Baabda Palace to the Mediterranean … We want a brave president who is ready for sacrifice and who is not concerned with US threats,” the Hezbollah leader said during a speech marking the 30th Anniversary of the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation.