İrem UZUN -TDO- The United States is planning to sanction Gebran Bassil, the leader of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) party, which was founded by President Michel Aoun and is allied with Hezbollah, the Wall Street Journal has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is expected on Friday to impose the sanctions on Bassil for assisting his ally, the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, the newspaper reported late on Thursday citing sources.
Bassil has been designated according to the Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the U.S. government to sanction individuals perceived as human rights offenders, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the U.S. The U.S. deems Iran-backed Hezbollah to be a terrorist group and has sanctioned several Hezbollah members. “The systemic corruption in Lebanon’s political system exemplified by Bassil has helped to erode the foundation of an effective government that serves the Lebanese people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “This designation further demonstrates that the United States supports the Lebanese people in their continued calls for reform and accountability.”
The United States has sanctioned several Iranian-backed Hezbollah members. In September, the U.S. blacklisted two former Lebanese government ministers it accused of enabling Hezbollah. It accused a former transport minister, Yusuf Finyanus, and a former finance minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, of engaging in corruption and leveraging their political power for financial gain.