U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “the world is increasingly recognizing Hezbollah for what it is—not a defender of Lebanon as it purports to be, but a terrorist organization dedicated to advancing Iran’s malicious agenda.”
Paraguay officially designated Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist groups on Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department acknowledged the decision, saying “the world is increasingly recognizing Hezbollah for what it is—not a defender of Lebanon as it purports to be, but a terrorist organization dedicated to advancing Iran’s malicious agenda. Like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, Hezbollah has a global reach, with operations and plots disrupted in recent years in the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reacted to the move.
“I welcome the decision of Paraguayan President Mario Abdo to define Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations. We are working so that more countries will also take this important step,” he said.
Similarly, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations applauded the move, saying that this action “represents another significant step in the ongoing fight against terrorism. In an historic step last month, the government of Argentina became the first South American country to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”
“We hope to see more countries in the region and around the world follow these countries and stand up to these dangerous forces and recognize them for what they are – purveyors of terror and violence that impacts every country,” said the group.
Last month, Argentina became the first Latin American country to designate Hezbollah, which has been deemed responsible for bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish center in Buenos Aires in the 1990s, a terrorist organization.
Brazil has reportedly been mulling following Argentina’s lead.
The move is part of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s push to realigned his countries foreign policy with the Trump administration and Israel.
Nevertheless, the move could damage relations with Iran, which imports $2.5 billion worth of goods per year. The government also worries that it could make the country a target for terrorism, according to the report. Iran is the principal backer of the Lebanese terror group.
The decision to call blacklist Hezbollah could be announced on an upcoming visit in October to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, both foes of Iran.
Hezbollah has been active in South America for decades, such as in the tri-border region between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. They also have close ties with Venezuela.