A group of bipartisan senators are urging President Obama to urge to the European Union to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The resolution is sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and is co-sponsored by 56 senators. It also urges Obama to provide information about Hezbollah to European allies and to support to the government of Bulgaria in investigating the July 18, 2012, terrorist attack in Burgas, believed to be the work of Hezbollah.
“Primarily through Iran’s Republican Guard Corps, Hezbollah has been the largest beneficiary of Iran’s support for terrorist activities, and in the past year, there has been a sharp spike in terrorist attacks planned by Iran and Hezbollah throughout the world,” the sponsors wrote in a letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “As Iran’s isolation grows due to increasing sanctions and the hopefully imminent fall of the Assad regime in Syria, we fear further escalation of terrorist activities by Iran and Hezbollah against Western interests to include Europe.”
Foreign Minister of Cyprus (which holds the rotating EU presidency) Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis recently said, “There is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations.” She said the EU would consider listing Hezbollah if there was tangible evidence of its terrorist actions, and differentiated between Hezbollah’s political and militant wings.
“However, the United States does not differentiate between Hezbollah’s political and militant wings, nor should Europe. The EU should recognize Hezbollah for what it is – a terrorist organization – and stand with the United States against Hezbollah in all its forms,” they stressed.
The lawmakers said “the evidence and dangers posed by Hezbollah and Iran to all European citizens are serious enough to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.”
“A terrorist designation from the EU would not only subject Hezbollah to further sanctions, but would also send a message to Hezbollah that Europe and the United States will not tolerate its dangerous and violent tactics,” they added. “The recent attack in Bulgaria serves as another tragic reminder of the enormous challenge we face in combating terrorism.”
The July explosion in Burgas killed five Israeli tourists and a local bus driver.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), one of the resolution’s co-sponsors and signatory on the letter, said “evidence of Hezbollah’s terrorist activities over the past three decades is irrefutable.”
“It is unacceptable that the European Union has failed to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the face of such stunning violence,” Toomey said. “Such a designation would subject Hezbollah to further sanctions and send a message to Hezbollah that Europe and the United States will not tolerate its violate attacks on innocent civilians.”