Hezbollah blasts US over new Iran mining sanctions

Lebanese terror group says US ignores international law, follows ‘law of the jungle,’ amid escalating row between Washington and Tehran.

The parliamentary bloc of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has blasted the United States over new sanctions it imposed on Iran, describing them as “unjustified.”

The bloc said in a statement Thursday that the US move against Iran shows the Trump administration’s “tyrannical and dictatorial trend.”

Hezbollah, which is backed and armed by Iran and sees the destruction of Israel as its main mission, is represented in Lebanon’s cabinet and parliament and has been under US sanctions for many years.

The group said in a statement Thursday that America’s unilateral sanctions do not respect international laws, and that Washington “behaves in accordance with the law of the jungle.”

It added that Iran had the power to defend itself.

The comments came a day after US President Donald Trump tightened the screws further on Iran with sanctions on its mining industry in response to a frustrated Tehran, which said it would suspend some promises it made under a 2015 nuclear deal rejected by Washington.

On Wednesday, Iran said it would immediately stop implementing some restrictions on its nuclear program set down in the 2015 deal — a move aimed largely at pressing Washington’s European allies to step up to preserve the agreement.

Tehran said it would abandon even more restrictions if the remaining parties to the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — failed to start delivering on their commitments to sanctions relief within 60 days.

President Hassan Rouhani said the ultimatum was intended to rescue the nuclear deal from Trump, whose sanctions have caused severe pain in Iran — which had anticipated an economic boon from the agreement negotiated under then-US president Barack Obama.

Rouhani denounced European countries for seeing the US as the world’s “sheriff” and said their view kept them from making “firm decisions for their own national interests.”

Trump quickly fired back, imposing sanctions that would punish anyone who buys or trades the country’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper.

The White House had already acted forcefully to prevent all countries from buying Iran’s oil — its crucial money-maker — and said that the steel and mining sector was the country’s second largest source of foreign revenue, accounting for 10 percent of exports.

“Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday.

The tensions come on the anniversary of Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord he denounced as “horrible,” and were highlighted earlier this week when the White House ordered an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers to the region and accused Iran of planning “imminent” attacks against US forces.

On Thursday, the US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which leads the strike group, traversed the Suez Canal on its way to the Persian Gulf.

Egyptian state news agency MENA quoted Mohab Mameesh, head of Cairo’s Suez Canal authority, as saying he observed the passage of the carrier through the canal on Thursday morning.

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