Hezbollah, Iran condemn Britain for outlawing terrorist group 

Source: Hezbollah, Iran condemn Britain for outlawing terrorist group – Israel Hayom

Hezbollah slams U.K. Parliament’s decision to outlaw it in its entirety, saying it has a political and popular force in Lebanon • Britain’s move means  support for  Hezbollah will be a criminal offense and could carry a 10-year prison sentence.

Associated Press, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff // published on 03/03/2019
   
Hezbollah forces march in Lebanon 


The Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah on Friday strongly rejected the British government’s move to ban it as a terrorist organization, calling the measure an “insult” to the Lebanese people and evidence of subservience to the United States.

The House of Commons approved the government’s motion to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety on Friday. The legislation passed days after the Home Secretary Sajid Javid determined it was impossible to distinguish between Hezbollah’s political and military activities.

In a statement issued in Beirut in response to the vote, Hezbollah said it is a “resistance” movement against Israeli occupation but also a political and popular force with representatives in the Lebanese parliament and government.

“The British government, by adopting this decision, has insulted the feelings, emotions and will of the Lebanese people which consider Hezbollah to be a significant political and popular force and granted it large representation in parliament and in the new government,” the statement said.

It was the first comment by the Iran-backed group on Britain’s move earlier this week to ban Hezbollah as a terrorist group, accusing it of further destabilizing the Middle East.

The British government’s decision means being a member of, or inviting support for, Hezbollah will be a criminal offense, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Until now, the military wing of the Lebanon-based group has been outlawed in Britain, but not its political arm.

Hezbollah – Arabic for Party of God – is a Shiite Muslim movement that emerged during the early 1980s to fight Israel, with financial backing from Iran. The group maintains a formidable military force that rivals the Lebanese army. It is also a powerful political force that participated in elections, has members in parliament and the government, and dominates the country’s politics.

The U.S. and others accuse the group of destabilizing the region through its military intervention in Syria on the side of President Bashar Assad’s government.

The Hezbollah statement added that the U.K. decision is proof that the British government is “merely a puppet” that does the bidding of its American “masters.”

“No country in the world that embraces terrorism, funds and supports it has the right to accuse Hezbollah or any other resistance movement of being terrorist,” it said.

Long the most powerful group in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s influence has expanded at home and in the region. It controls three of 30 ministries in the government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the largest number ever.

Iran also criticized Britain over the weekend, saying the decision ignored both the will of a large portion of the Lebanese people and the Tehran-backed group’s role in fighting Islamic State.

“This British measure signifies deliberately ignoring a large part of the Lebanese people and the legitimacy and the legal position of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s administrative and political structure,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

“In addition to … helping preserve Lebanon’s territorial integrity over recent decades, Hezbollah has been one of the pillars of the fight against terrorism and terrorist groups such as Islamic State in the region,” Qasemi added.

 

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