US imposes more sanctions on Iran and Syria

Washington: The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a money exchanger and a group of firms across six countries involved in commodity shipments and business transactions that benefit Iran’s military and the Houthi militant group in Yemen and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned six firms, two tankers and a money exchanger, all either based or registered in Liberia, India, Vietnam, Lebanon or Kuwait. They are accused of materially benefiting Iran, the Houthis and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and the Houthis have been launching regular attacks since the onset of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, and they have sparked international concern that the war in the Palestinian enclave could spill over into the rest of the Middle East.

Hezbollah militants and Israeli troops exchange fire on a near-daily basis along Lebanon’s southern border, which has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people on both sides. Despite losing more than 200 combatants and Israel striking deeper into the tiny country, Hezbollah maintains that it will stop launching rockets into northern Israel only when there is a cease-fire in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control much of Yemen’s north and west, have been launching drones and missiles on ships in the Red Sea, which they say is an effort to pressure Israel to end its war. Despite U.S.-led airstrikes over the past two months, they have carried on with their campaign.

In a separate announcement Tuesday, Treasury slapped sanctions on 11 people and entities accused of facilitating financial transfers to the Syrian government to help it duck sanctions and being involved in the trafficking of a highly addictive amphetamine called Captagon that has become a booming industry in the war-torn country.

Image courtesy of JNS

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