WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-1) and Ted Deutch (FL-22) led a bipartisan group of colleagues in urging EU member states to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah has increasingly used Europe as a launching pad for its criminal and terrorist activities, including money laundering, drug smuggling, recruitment, and training. 

“The United States remains dedicated to combating global terrorism and its enablers, and we encourage our allies and partners to join in this effort. To build on these efforts, we strongly urge the EU to designate the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” wrote the Members of Congress. “Hezbollah’s fundraising and illicit business activities have generated additional annual revenue which the organization uses to support its global terrorism, including a 2012 Hezbollah terror attack in Bulgaria that killed 5 Israeli tourists and 1 Bulgarian citizen.” 

The letter is also signed by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joni K. Ernst (R-Iowa), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and Representatives Grace Meng (NY-6), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-4), Joe Wilson (SC-2), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Peter T. King (NY-2), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Glenn Grothman (WI-6), Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10), Randy K. Weber (TX-14) and Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20). 

The letter can be found below or here.

To: EU Member States 

We write to commend Germany’s April 30, 2020, designation of Iranian-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and the nation’s associated ban of all Hezbollah activity. We also acknowledge Austria’s efforts with regard to a similar proposed resolution and encourage its passage in the coming months. Unfortunately, Hezbollah has increasingly used Europe as a launching pad for its criminal and terrorist activities, including money laundering, drug smuggling, recruitment, and training. In particular, Hezbollah’s fundraising and illicit business activities have generated additional annual revenue which the organization uses to support its global terrorism, including a 2012 Hezbollah terror attack in Bulgaria that killed 5 Israeli tourists and 1 Bulgarian citizen. 

Since designating the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997, the United States has taken a series of bipartisan steps to counter the group, including:

  • In December 2015, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the bipartisan Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–102), which broadened financial sector sanctions to compel foreign financial institutions to refrain from supporting the terrorist group. In July 2016 and October 2017, the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution urging the European Union (EU) to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
  • In October 2018, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the bipartisan Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-272), which imposed additional sanctions on the terrorist organization. 
  • In October 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury created the Counter–Hezbollah International Partnership to boost multilateral cooperative efforts to track and combat Hezbollah’s global illicit finance.
  • In January 2020, President Donald Trump enacted additional sanctions, which specifically targeted financial revenue used by Tehran to support proxy groups such as Hezbollah.

The United States remains dedicated to combating global terrorism and its enablers, and we encourage our allies and partners to join in this effort. We appreciate the EU’s efforts to counter Hezbollah since it designated Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization in 2013, as well as its continued cooperation with the U.S. in thwarting Hezbollah’s illicit activities. To build on these efforts, we strongly urge the EU to designate the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In addition to the United States, Canada, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab League, as well as several other individual countries, have taken this step. We also continue to welcome action by individual member states to enact a formal terror designation of Hezbollah in its entirety and ban its activities within their borders. 

We look forward to continuing an open discussion on joint cooperation in the common fight against global terrorism.