Lebanese group Hezbollah has condemned US sanctions on former Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, which Washington accuses of playing a role in corruption in Lebanon.
In a statement, the Shia group said the US sanctions were “politically-driven” and amounted to a “blatant interference” in Lebanese affairs.
The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Bassil, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party allied with Hezbollah. Washington accuses Bassil of playing a role in corruption Lebanon and eroding the foundation of an effective government in the country.
“This decision aims to force a big Lebanese political team to submit to American conditions and dictates on Lebanon,” Hezbollah said.
The group reiterated support to the Free Patriotic Movement against the US sanctions, which Hezbollah termed as “unfair”.
Bassil, for his part, said he was not scared by the US sanctions.
“Sanctions have not scared me nor promises tempted me,” Bassil said in a Twitter post. “I do not turn against any Lebanese … and I do not save myself to let Lebanon perish.”
Bassil was a foreign minister in former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government, which resigned last year amid street protests against tax policies. He had previously served as a minister of telecommunications, energy and water
The US sanctions came as Lebanon has been mired by turmoil over the deterioration of the economic conditions and unemployment.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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