President Trump on Thursday slapped major new sanctions on the Islamist terrorist group Hezbollah, while his administration continues its all-out economic squeeze on the Iranian regime that backs it, Fox News informed.
After a speech punctuated by raucous applause, Trump signed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (HIPAA) of 2018 into law on the 35th anniversary of Hezbollah’s 1983 truck bombing of the barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. service members and 58 French peacekeepers.
“It was the single deadliest day for the Marines since Iwo Jima,” Trump said in a ceremony at the East Room of the White House. “The attack was carried out by Hezbollah, which Iran was instrumental in founding earlier to advance its radical agenda and remains its main patron today. And we’re doing a big number on Iran today, in case you haven’t noticed.”
The military members and veterans in attendance, whom Trump called “spirited” at the beginning of his remarks, burst into whistling and applause. He was joined by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and survivors of the 1983 attack.
In August, the Trump administration restored sanctions against Iran that had been suspended under former President Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal. Trump has long characterized that deal as an ineffective giveaway that allowed Iran to finance terrorism without actually checking its nuclear ambitions.
Even more severe U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors are slated to go into effect in November, including restrictions on Iran’s oil industry that could cut off a crucial source of hard currency. The sanctions already imposed target Iranian trade in automobiles, gold and other key metals.
On Thursday, the President highlighted Iran’s economic woes, as the country moves to take emergency measures to placate an increasingly discontent populace.
Soaring unemployment and poverty prompted demonstrators to torch police vehicles and burn tires in August, when at least one person was shot and killed in the protests, with some shouting “Mullahs get lost!” and “Death to the dictator!” the Fars news agency reported.
“They are rioting in their streets, their money has collapsed, their lives are a lot different,” Trump said Thursday. “I’ll tell you what, they are not the same country they were when I took office.”