A French U.N. peacekeepers Leclerc tank passes a billboard showing Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah. (AFP)

May 25, 2019

A French newspaper has found that crippling US sanctions on Iran have choked off Tehran’s financial support to Hezbollah, one of the country’s most important proxies in the Middle East.

Le Figaro’s report entitled, “Hezbollah put on diet due to the fall of Iranian aid”, emphasized that Iran has cut its transfers to the Lebanese group by half, reducing the salaries of party members.

The report quoted a Hezbollah media worker as saying that the salaries were cut by two thirds, and that the party had to reduce compensation to the families of “martyrs.”

According to the report, wages paid to Hezbollah fighters returning from Syria (formerly ranging between $600 and $1,200) have fallen by 50 percent, while salaries of soldiers fully dedicated to the fighting will be also reduced.

A well-informed diplomatic source quoted by Le Figaro said that Hezbollah, “which has long benefited from its relations with Iran, has been subjected to austerity measures and no longer enjoys any benefits.”

“Six months ago, cash transfers from Tehran to Beirut airport through Iranian airlines were estimated at $70-80 million per month, according to US and French figures; but these payments have now dropped by around 50 percent,” according to the French source.

The report also pointed to US restrictions on bank transfers. It noted that banking supervision “severely affects Lebanese merchants abroad, as well as fundraising and service stations located in the Hezbollah stronghold, in southern Lebanon.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.