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Financial crisis storms through Hezbollah due to US sanctions on Iran

Hezbollah suppoeters

Hezbollah is reportedly facing the worst financial crisis in the Shiite group's history, as a result of US sanctions against Iran, and has not been able to pay the salaries of its fighters and its institutions’ civil servants in full this month, paying only half of the salaries, for the first time in many years.

Sources revealed that Hezbollah is suffering from financial pressures and economic problems, even though is it not engaged in a costly war that requires financing, as in the past during confrontations with Israel. The sources also pointed out that the financial sanctions on Iran “has put Hezbollah in a financial stalemate since its core budget comes from Iran.”

According to the sources, the party paid its fighters, whose number may reach up to 20,000, paying the employees only half of their salaries. The party’s financial officials have explained the reasons for this cut as being “financial problems and the sanctions imposed on Iran”, asking “patience” of its employees.

Some say that splitting the pay checks into two parts has been going on for a few months, and that the salaries have been paid in two installments during the first quarter of the month.

The party endured a similar problem after entering the Syrian war. Media sources said that the party has delayed its pay-checks before at one point during 2014. Today, however, its supporters are asking whether this situation will continue, as the party is not currently engaged in any large-scale battles as was the situation in 2013, 2014, and 2015 in Syria, and what will happen to the thousands of employees and fighters in Hezbollah’s ranks whose salaries are between $500 and $800?

In a speech given on March 8, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, acknowledged the financial difficulties his party is facing by saying: “When we start facing difficulties because of the sanction, it should become clear to us that this is the result of a war and not an administrative flaw.”

Nasrallah also said: “We must remain steadfast on this path, they will be disappointed as they will not be able to impoverish us,” pointing out that “those who support us continue to support us,” and that “they assume that we will collapse because of a financial siege.” He also noted that “we will have some difficulties, but we will overcome them.”

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, commented on the impact of the financial sanctions against Iran during his recent visit to Beirut, saying that “the pressure we are exerting is aimed at cutting off Iran’s funding.” He also pointed out that “the Secretary General of Hezbollah asked his supporters to make donations, we will continue to use peaceful methods to tighten the lid even more.”

Thus it is the sanctions against Iran that have pushed the party into the financial problem they are currently facing. The party asserts that its budgets come from Iran, while the US started imposing sanctions on Iran on November 4th, despite the difficult economic conditions Iran was already facing. The sanctions imposed on Tehran include various economic, financial, and industrial sectors, mainly the oil and gas sectors, which are the main source of Iran’s finances.

The law that was recently approved by the US Congress puts Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations and criminalizes those who deal with it, whether private individuals or private institutions. However, it also allows the US presidents to impose sanctions on official institutions, governments, and countries that deal with the party without referring to Congress.

The party’s demands for support for its fighters from the families in its audience have been renewed again. In Beirut, appeals for the party, signed by the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, are calling for people to donate to Hezbollah.

The party also recently launched the “Mujahid” or fighter campaign, to raise money for the party’s militia. The financial cost, according to Hezbollah, of processing one fighter (Mujahid) was set at raising one million five hundred thousand Lebanese pounds ($1000).