Hezbollah slams German ban as ‘submission to America’s will’

The head of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement on Monday condemned the ban on Germany from his group as bending to American pressure and insisted that he was not active in the country.

On Thursday, Germany designated Hezbollah as a “Shiite terrorist organization”, while its security forces raided mosques and associations linked to the group.

In a televised speech, the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, described it as “a political decision which reflects Germany’s submission to the will of America and the pleasure of Israel”.

“When we say that we are not active in Germany, we are 100% honest,” said the head of the Iran-backed group.

Hezbollah was created in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war and waged a devastating war in 2006 with Israel.

The United States and Israel have long identified it as a terrorist group and have urged their allies to do the same.

Like the European Union, Germany has so far banned only the military wing of Hezbollah while tolerating its political arm, a major force in the Lebanese parliament.

Nasrallah said on Monday that he expected more EU countries to follow Germany’s lead.

The Hezbollah chief also condemned the German authorities for attacking mosques and associations linked to the group and called on the Lebanese government to protect its nationals in Germany.

The “big step forward” rescue plan

Nasrallah’s speech came days after the Lebanese government approved a long-awaited plan that was used to request an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program to help the country weather an acute economic crisis.

Responding to the crisis plan, Nasrallah said it was a “big and important step”. But he warned that any talks with the IMF must not blindly return the country to conditions it cannot bear.

Nasrallah said that local banks have made huge profits over the years and must now step in to help. He urged the government, which signed a request for assistance from the IMF last week, to find solutions for the weakening of the local currency and soaring prices.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)