The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), aims to sanction international financial institutions that knowingly engage in business with Hezbollah.
The legislation also requires President Barack Obama to report to Congress on Hezbollah’s involvement in narcotics trafficking and transnational crime, as well as its global logistics networks and fundraising, financing, and money laundering activities, Rubio’s senate office said.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
In a statement, Rubio—who is running for president—said the legislation would help “guarantee that our government is focused on eliminating this terrorist group.”
“We cannot afford to jeopardize our national security by letting Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, continue to pose a direct threat to us and our allies including Israel,” he added. “It is time for us to reveal the expansiveness of its dangerous network.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the legislation.
“Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist group, poses a direct threat to American and Israeli security, dominates the Lebanese government, fights for the Syrian Assad regime, and possesses an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles. Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any terrorist group other than al-Qaeda, and has recently attempted attacks, some successfully, in multiple countries including Bulgaria, Thailand, and Azerbaijan,” AIPAC said.
“Hezbollah is not just a global terrorist organization that has murdered Americans, Israelis, Syrians and citizens of other nations,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC associate executive director for policy. “Hezbollah’s drug business, money laundering, and other criminal activities are critical for funding its terrorism.”