US senator, Treasury press EU to blacklist Hezbollah

In talks over Iranian sanctions, David Cohen says US gov't is diligently working to convince EU to label Hezbollah as terrorists.

Mark Kirk 311 (photo credit: .Courtesy)
Mark Kirk 311
(photo credit: .Courtesy)
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.
The Banking 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 that accomplished.”
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 operatives.
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.”
Kirk continued, ”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.