On Thursday, President Trump signed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (S.1595), sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). The bill increases sanctions on the U.S.-designated terrorist organization known as Hezbollah by restricting the activity of their external financial support systems.
The text of the legislation reads in part:
The President shall, on or after the date of the enactment of [the bill], impose the sanctions described in subsection (b) with respect to any foreign person that the President determines knowingly provides significant financial, material, or technological support for or to—
(1) Bayt al-Mal, Jihad al-Bina, the Islamic Resistance Support Association, the Foreign Relations Department of Hizballah, the External Security Organization of Hizballah, or any successor or affiliate thereof as designated by the President;
(2) al-Manar TV, al Nour Radio, or the Lebanese Media Group, or any successor or affiliate thereof as designated by the President;
(3) a foreign person determined by the President to be engaged in fundraising or recruitment activities for Hizballah; or
(4) a foreign person owned or controlled by a person described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3).
The sanctions include asset blocking, and denying visas and admissions to aliens “who the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security .. .determines is subject to subsection (a) …”
Additionally, the president must report on “foreign financial institution[s]” that are:
(I) organized under the laws of a state sponsor of terrorism or any jurisdiction within a state sponsor of terrorism;
(II) owned or controlled by the government of a state sponsor of terrorism;
(III) located in the territory of a state sponsor of terrorism; or
(IV) owned or controlled by a foreign financial institution described in subclause (I), (II), or (III); and
(ii) the capitalization of which exceeds $10,000,000.
After signing the legislation, Trump spoke before a large gathering to mark the 35th anniversary of the October 1983 bombing that took the lives of 241 service personnel at a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
Regarding Hezbollah, the president said:
The attack was carried out by Hezbollah, which Iran was instrumental in founding a year earlier to advance its radical agenda, and remain its main patron today – and we are doing a big number on Iran today …
Over the past year we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds – and they are starving of funds.
We will target, disrupt, and dismantle their operational and financing efforts, of which they have plenty – they don’t have plenty now – and we will never forget what they did to our great Marines in Beirut. We will never forget.
Here’s the video (pertinent portion begins at the 7:11 mark):
In response to the president signing the legislation, Senator Rubio issued a statement that reads in part:
I thank President Trump for signing my Hizballah sanctions bill into law, and for welcoming relatives of the Beirut Marines to the White House today to honor the ultimate sacrifice that these U.S. servicemembers made 35 years ago.
Hezbollah was first designated a “foreign terrorist organization” by the United States in 1997.