NEW YORK – In an exchange with US Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) on drying up
Iranian funds for the financing of its alleged nuclear weapons program, Treasury
Under Secretary David Cohen said the US government is diligently working to
convince the EU to label Hezbollah a terrorist group.
Committee hearing took place on Thursday and revealed growing efforts by Cohen
and the powerful treasury department for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
that he heads, to push the Europeans to take action against Hezbollah for the
terror attack on Israeli and Bulgarians in July.
Cohen said, “One, the
designation of Hezbollah following the determination by the Bulgarians that
Hezbollah was responsible for that attack in Burgas. We are pressing the EU,
pressing member states of the EU to get that done. Not going to predict what the
EU will do, but you can be sure that we’re pressing them very, very hard to get
Bulgaria’s interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov,
attributed, last month in Sofia, the killing of five Israelis and a Bulgarian
bus driver in the Black seaside resort of Burgas to Hezbollah
Known for spearheading congressional efforts to stop Iran’s
drive to go nuclear, Kirk co-authored major pieces of sanctions legislation to
force Iran’s leaders to abandon their alleged nuclear weapons program and
improve human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He said at the
Banking Committee hearing “the Iranian currency has fallen 63 percent in its
value measured against the US dollar.
Iran may actually have to miss a
payment to Hezbollah which would be welcome indeed.”
”Over time, we are making good progress in making the Iranian currency fairly
unusable, which is an extremely good thing.
And mullahs are, have been
complaining about their economic woes of being unable to finance what they want
to finance, like subjugating the people of Lebanon through Hezbollah. We, you
know the letter to the EU is particularly well aimed because of an attack by
Hezbollah against Bulgaria on July 18, 2012...”
The importance of the
Treasury Department in pushing Europe’s 27-member country body to include
Hezbollah in its terror list adds new urgency to the debate about the
Iranian-Hezbollah network in Europe. Hezbollah is considered an agent of Iran’s
foreign terror operations.
After Germany sent 1.5 billion euros ($2.1b.)
in Indian crude-oil payments to Iran’s regime with the help of the Bundesbank
and the Hamburg- based European-Iranian Trade bank (EIH) in 2011, the US
Treasury successfully pressured the Germans to stop future payments of Indian
crude oil and sanction the EIH.