The International Economic Emergency Powers Act (“IEEPA”) was amended by the Congress last week and includes a section that will help raise awareness of a long-time threat in the Western Hemisphere posed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. The small but important change to IEEPA now requires that the executive branch conduct reviews of
“… efforts by the United States to prevent hostile activities by Iran and disrupt and degrade Hizballah’s illicit networks in the Western Hemisphere, including interagency coordination to ensure that information-sharing, interdictions, arrests, investigations, indictments, sanctions, and designations related to Hizballah individuals or networks in the Western Hemisphere are integrated, coordinated, and publicly communicated by the United States in a manner that supports United States interests…”The complete text of the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018 is embedded at the end of this post.
It is not a state secret Iran, Hizballah, Hamas, and other Middle Eastern-rooted terrorists and terrorist organizations have found a home in the Americas. They use the region for many nefarious purposes including drug dealing, arms trafficking, and, in the case of Iran, undermine U.S. interests.
Iran, Hizballah, and fellow travelers have been waging terror in the region for decades. They have no plans to stop. Quite the opposite. And several America haters in the Western Hemisphere have provided these regimes and terrorist groups safe haven. These state actors, too, should be outed and designated state sponsors of terrorism.
From Havana, Managua, Caracas, and elsewhere, Iran and Hizballah find illegal ways to exploit weak financial systems and corrupt government officials to move money and people. If the Trump administration can deploy a robust set of targeting measures throughout the Americas to lock these bad actors out of the system, they will also help keep the Americas, and America, safer and more secure.