Raad Calls for Balancing between ‘Financial Stability, Sovereignty’

Hizbullah’s top lawmaker called Monday for “balancing” between “financial and banking stability” and the requirements of national “sovereignty,” amid a row over the implementation in Lebanon of a U.S. anti-Hizbullah sanctions law.

“It is a bizarre paradox that some have been demanding sovereignty and rejecting hegemony for the past ten years while now they consider sovereignty to be the implementation of the U.S. laws, even if these laws are imposing sanctions on our people,” head of the Loyalty to Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad said.

He added: “We want financial and banking stability for our country but we also want the government and the institutions that are in charge of the national monetary system to preserve national sovereignty.”

“The equation that must be implemented should be balancing and harmonizing between the protection of Lebanon’s financial sovereignty and the requirements of preserving the institutions’ general stability,” Raad urged.

The lawmaker’s remarks are the first public comments by Hizbullah on the U.S. sanctions since a bomb blast targeted the headquarters of BLOM Bank in Verdun on June 12.

Several parties were quick to point the finger at Hizbullah over the bombing due to the fact that the attack coincided with the row with the banking sector.

BLOM bank had been criticized by some pro-Hizbullah politicians for taking a hard-line position after Lebanese banks began abiding by the U.S. law, which sanctions doing business with the Iran-backed Lebanese group. Authorities say dozens of bank accounts related to Hizbullah’s organizations have been closed in recent weeks.

Hizbullah has fiercely criticized the law and accused Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh of “yielding” to Washington’s demands.

The crisis between Hizbullah and Salameh has however eased in recent days, according to media reports, after the governor ordered the reopening of several closed bank accounts.

Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is expected to address the issue in a June 24 speech.