By Vakkas Dogantekin
ANKARA (AA) - Argentina on Thursday froze the assets of Hezbollah and effectively designated it a terrorist organization on the anniversary of a synagogue bombing in capital Buenos Aires 25 years ago that killed 85 people.
The move makes Argentina the first country in Latin America to recognize the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group as a terrorist entity.
Argentina also blames Iran and Hezbollah for a deadly attack to the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 that killed 29, claims denied by both Hezbollah and Iran.
“At present, Hezbollah continues to represent a current threat to security and the integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentine Republic,” the financial information unit of the Argentinian government said in a statement.
The announcement by the Argentine authorities came on the first day of the four-day Latin America tour the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began in a bid to forge regional alliance against Iran.
The U.S., which has designated the entire organization of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization along with the UK and the United Arab Emirates, sanctioned two Hezbollah representatives in Lebanon's parliament, as well as a top Hezbollah security official early July.
Hezbollah MPs Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Ra’d were blacklisted as was Hezbollah security official Wafiq Safa, whom the Treasury Department said serves as an interlocutor between the Lebanese paramilitary and the country's security forces and is part of Hezbollah's Secretary General's inner circle.
Hezbollah currently controls about one-tenth of the Lebanese Parliament's 128 seats.