As U.S. Tightens Iran Sanctions, Militant Groups and Political Allies Feel the Pain
Iran’s financial crisis, exacerbated by American sanctions, appears to be undermining its support for militant groups and political allies who bolster Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.
“The golden days are gone and will never return,” said a fighter with an Iranian-backed militia in Syria who recently lost a third of his salary and other benefits. “Iran doesn’t have enough money to give us.”
Across the Middle East, Iran’s allies are showing signs of financial strain.
Some of that strain may simply reflect the impact of the prolonged armed conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Hezbollah, which had focused resources on confronting Israel along Lebanon’s southern border, has been diverting fighters and weapons to Syria for years. Shiite fighters directed by Iran helped battle the Islamic State after the militant group overran parts of Iraq five years ago.
But Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, acknowledged the difficulties created by the American sanctions, criticizing them this month as “a form of war” and calling on the movement’s fund-raising arm “to provide the opportunity for jihad with money and also to help with this ongoing battle.”
The Trump administration says the strains show that the sanctions are effective. It sought to intensify the pressure on Tuesday by blacklisting 25 participants in what the Treasury Department described as a vast currency trading scheme that had funneled more than $1 billion to Iranian military operations in the region.
Read More: NY Times
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