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U.S. sanctions Hezbollah-allied Lebanese Christian leader

BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. Treasury on Friday slapped sanctions on Lebanon’s ex-foreign minister and a leading Christian political ally of the militant Hezbollah group, according to the Treasury’s website.

Gebran Bassil is a current lawmaker who leads the biggest bloc in parliament and a son-in-law of President Michel Aoun. The website gave no further details, but the sanctions are part of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran and its allies in the region.

The United States has been sanctioning Hezbollah officials for years, and recently began targeting politicians close to the group. In September, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on two former Lebanese Cabinet ministers allied with the militant group in a strong message to Hezbollah and its allies who control majority seats in Parliament.

Friday’s announcement is a major expansion of the scope of sanctions targeting Hezbollah’s political partners in Lebanon. Immediately after it, Bassil tweeted that the sanctions do not frighten him. “I have gotten used to injustice and learned from our history: It is our fate in this Orient to carry our cross every day … in order to survive,” he tweeted.

The announcement came as the world anxiously awaited the result of U.S. elections and Donald Trump’s pathway to reelection appeared to shrink.

It also comes as former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is struggling to form a new government in Lebanon, which has been hit by the worst econ