By Amir Taghati
As a result of Washington’s pressure campaign of sanctions and military deployments against Tehran, on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department announced that Iran is withdrawing Hezbollah forces from Syria.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a news conference, “Our campaign is working. The campaign is starving Iran’s proxies of the funds they rely on to operate on behalf of the regime.” She added,” We will continue to put maximum pressure on the Iranian regime to deny it the means to conduct its destructive foreign policy.”
Articles published by the New York Times and the Washington Post that reported American sanctions on Iran had curbed Tehran’s ability to fully fund proxy groups across the Middle East, including Hezbollah, were cited by Ortagus.
According to the Post, Hezbollah’s fighters are receiving salary cuts and many are being withdrawn from Syria where they “played an instrumental role in fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad and ensuring his survival.”
Washington had granted temporary import waivers to China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea to ensure low oil prices and no disruption to the global oil market. The waivers were not renewed when they expired. This heightened pressure on Iran, as did U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remark that the goal is to bring Iranian exports to zero.
After U.S. President Trump withdrew Washington from a landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of nations, tensions mounted between Iran and the U.S. The Trump administration has also re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors.
Meanwhile Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to U.S. oil shipments. In response, the U.S. sent a carrier strike group, a bomber task force and Patriot missile battery to the Middle East, citing a “credible threat” from Tehran. Trump also confirmed that the U.S. would be sending 1,500 troops to the region.
As well, it’s reported that a Yemeni radio station supporting the Houthi militias has launched a fundraising drive for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, using the platform to solicit donations from listeners.
This is good news for the Iranian people, who feel that the sanctions are working and must continue. This is more proof that oil money didn’t help the people of Iran, but was instead used by Iran regime’s terrorist proxies.
Hezbollah openly supports the Houthi militias and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has even gone to the extent of saying: “I am ashamed to not be among you.”