August 10th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

U.S. Official: Hezbollah, Iran continue to pose terror threat

By Jamie Crawford

Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shiite militant group, and its patron Iran continue to pose serious terror threats around the world, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

"Our assessment is that Hezbollah and Iran will both continue to maintain a heightened level of terrorist activity and operations in the near future," and could launch attacks "with little or no warning," Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, told reporters in a conference call Friday.

"We have not detected any operational activity of the group in the United States," Benjamin said of Hezbollah's activity. "They certainly have been the subject of law enforcement actions in the past primarily for fundraising and illicit activities related to that, but we do not have any information on operational targeting or anything like that in the U.S., but that said, it's a very ambitious group with global reach."

The comments come the same day the United States Treasury Department announced sanctions against Hezbollah for its operational and logistical support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Benjamin's comments came during the call with reporters to explain the sanctions against Hezbollah.

Hezbollah was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States in 1995. In the same conference call with reporters, David Cohen, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, told reporters the group was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist group until the attacks of September 11, 2001, by al Qaeda.

Cohen said the repression of al-Assad's regime "is intolerable and we believe there is high priority on exposing the support Hezbollah has given to Syrian government." While Hezbollah is already subject to a wide range of U.S. sanctions, Cohen said, the purpose of such designations is "not solely focused on the immediate financial impact" of an organization, but to expose the activity of the party designated to the rest of the world, for conduct that led to it."

In addition to the sanctions against Hezbollah, the United States also imposed sanctions on Syria's state-run oil company Friday for conducting business with Iran's energy sector the State Department announced.

The action against Sytrol, was taken under the authority of a legislative amendment to the Iran Sanctions Act, which sanctions entities deemed to be conducting business with or assisting Iran's energy sector.

"Though these sanctions are a direct result of Syria's provision of gasoline to Iran, the United States views Iran's broader support for the Assad regime as completely unjustifiable," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a written statement. "Iran is actively advising, supplying, and assisting the Syrian security forces and regime-backed militias that are carrying out gross human rights abuses against the Syrian people."

The sanctions come the same day the Treasury Department sanctioned the Lebanese-based Shiite militant group Hezbollah for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. It also follows recent U.S. legislation and additional executive orders from the Obama administration that target Iran's energy sector in an effort to get the regime to negotiate with the United States and western powers over its disputed nuclear program.

In April of this year, Syria sent Iran 33,000 metric tons of gasoline worth over $36 million, the State Department said. That figure significantly exceeds the monetary threshold for triggering sanctions under the law.

The Obama administration says the extensive trade between Iran and Syria allows the regime in Tehran to continue developing a nuclear weapons program, while providing the Syrian government with resources attack its own people.

"The revelation that Sytrol sold literally tons of gasoline to Iran is a reminder about the dangerous and ongoing relationship between these two pariah states and that sanctions against the Iranian regime, if fully implemented and enforced, can also hurt its Syrian partner," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

"While I am pleased that the administration took this step to punish a Syrian company selling gas to Iran, there remain a vast number of entities getting a free pass for their ongoing business dealings with Tehran. We can and must do better. Time is of the essence," she said.

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Filed under: Hezbollah • Iran • Syria
soundoff (95 Responses)
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  8. Dr Veruju

    The Iranian government while certainly not a friendly government poses no such threat.
    Iran is faced with the gigantic military and political power of the US and Israel acting in an increasingly belligerent manner towards it, so it is not surprising it is beefing up its defenses.
    The whole issue is OIL and pipelines, it always has been. The same with Syria.

    June 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
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    June 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  10. brown

    America was once a beacon of hope for the World, now she is an exporter of tyranny!

    One day soon, we will hold those in power accountable what they do in our name!

    There will be no place on this earth where you b astards will be safe!

    August 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  11. brown

    Iran has never been a threat to America and is not a threat today. The Zionists in Israel and America want to keep
    Iran down so Israel can continue its tyranny and land theft in the Middle East. Wake up America, you are being USED
    by the Zionists.

    August 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Iran is busy developing nuclear weapons and it had threatened to destroy Israel on multiple occasions. If Iran will start a nuclear war in the Middle East millions of people will lose their lives and many more will become refugees. In addition, the largest oil fields on the planet will possibly be turned into radioactive wasteland sending the world economy into a crisis of epic proportions and effectively ending our civilization as we know it. If THIS is not a threat to America as well as the rest of the world I don't know what is...

      August 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
      • glennrobert

        No, you really don't know do you? The 27,000 bombs on earth NOW are a serious threat and you whine about Iran. If you need to worry, try Pakistan which has over 100 bombs and a desfunctional government. We need to worry about those who have these weapons not those who wish they had them. In spite of the propaganda the Iranians are not suicidal. They have not started a war outside of their boundaries in over 200 years, unlike us.

        August 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  12. brown

    The Jewish Zionists are the real threat! They are doing what they do best ... manipulation for the benefit of Jews!

    August 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  13. OffTheWorldPolitics

    9/11 was considered the worst attack since pearl harbor. Terrorism brings out the worst in people, the Iranian regime should not think for a moment that just because the U.S. was in 2 wars recently that it would hesitate to enter into a 3rd if something similar to 9/11 were to occur again.

    August 12, 2012 at 7:34 am | Reply
  14. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

    George Patton and Janai and most of the Pro Iran bloggers that write in that amusing "Idiomatically Persian" English had all of their e-mail addresses created in the UK by the same Iranian agent (using the same computer, with the same computer motherboard) who then sent the e-mail addresses concealed in a paperback book of a "tourist" returning to Tehran. Sorry guys, but you are busted! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
    • Sodomite

      What fabulous gibberish. Those must be some sweet meds you're tripping on.

      August 12, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
  15. Jimmy776

    hizzbillah the terrorist regime of idiots is located in a U.S city near you...don't be so naive these people plan terrorist attacks like the average person wakes up and goes to work-they have cells waiting to strike-only Israel the the guts to take them out....the U.S knows this and is the cause for many sleepness nights...remember the marine barracks in 1983?

    August 11, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Sodomite

      Enjoy living in fear.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • Killer O'Bama

      Thank you, Jimmy776 for believing my mumbo-jumbo! these Hezbollah are bed dudes alright and how glad I am to know there are a lot of people like you who are dumb enogh to fall for it! At least for me, ignorance truly is bliss!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  16. saeed

    this suzanne kelly looks like a reeta,rdded kid everything she said has allready everybody allready knows. cnn is a funny channel when there professors and educated people they interview are like suzanne kelly a 5 year old kid has moore information then this women and also she looks like a whooo,ree.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
  17. Jannai

    America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953, America overthrow Iran's democratic government and installed a brutal dictator Shah of Iran. America helped Shah to established secret police and killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians.
    During Iran-Iraq war, America helped Saddam Hussein and killed one million Iranians. America is the only country that shot down Iran's civilian air plain and killed all 290 passengers.
    In 2003, America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and displaced 4,000,000+ Iraqi people.
    Now, America is a failed country with huge debt. Its debt will be 24 trillion by 2015.
    Every other day a city in America is declaring bankruptcy. ha ha ha

    August 11, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Thank you, Jannai. I couldn't have said it better!

      August 11, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
    • Sodomite

      I can't hear you. I'm too busy beating off to the thought of constant, glorious war.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
  18. Alvn

    Round 2 Weapons of Mass Destruction Propaganda!

    August 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  19. Duh!

    Israel stoking the US war engine once again. US official Nathan Benjamin sounds more like a member of the Knesset in his spare time.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
    • OffTheWorldPolitics

      I don't see how so many of you can be blind. The Iranian regime is openly hostile to the West and Nato. It uses terrorism to attack targets all over the world. Now it is acquiring the capacity to build a nuclear bomb, and somehow it is Israel's fault?? NO nation that opens supports terrorism should be allowed to modernize let alone build nuclear weapons. The only reason Iran has anything and is not a total backwater like Yemen or Somalia is because they are sitting on oil. However, sitting on oil does not justify developing nuclear weapons....

      August 11, 2012 at 1:29 am | Reply
      • Sodomite terrorism. Guess who created Al-Qaida?

        August 11, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • OffTheWorldPolitics

        The US did not create terrorists, some decided to become terrorists after the Soviets left Afghanistan. At least the US exit strategy from Afghanistan wont be like the Soviet one. Blow up the entire mountainside, declare victory and leave.

        August 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Saddam bin laden

      AIPAC is the reason why American soldiers die not Israelis. AIPAC got the US by the nuts for more than 50 years.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
      • brown

        very true

        August 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  20. Reluctant Citizen

    Funny, but it seems that the real terrorists are operating out of Pennsylvania Ave. and most Americans are too stupid to realize it.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • scott

      you said it

      August 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
    • Sodomite

      For the most part, we are servile and pliant.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  21. Big_D

    I doubt many Europeans will cry when the six nuclear subs come up in the straight and launch. I just hope the civilians of Iran are trying to stop the actions before USA has to resort to the consequences. We and the USSR decided it was better to live and let live. I hope peace has a chance because the other game plan is probably being practiced every day.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  22. Pnm9pnm

    I don't think much of the Jews in a jail thay call a nation as in the walls it where's yet I thing a litte less of hezbollah an much much less of Iran yet the Palastin people as a hole r ok with me mostly yet killing Jews is not the answer with out just rezin as to say this hate tred can be refined out justly.pnm.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
    • Pnm9pnm

      Resized out.pnm.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • shrinkDave

      This comment is possibly the wisest I've ever seen. Nonjudgmental and clearly thought out. If only I could figure out what the comment is.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  23. floridasboy

    Iran should dethrone their islamist masters and return to a path of peace and freedom. they have held u hostage too long... the fatawas and corruption alone are obvious signs that the people of iran are not being represented in the eyes of the world. just a few well placed bullets and bombs stand between oppression and freedom.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • Big_D

      Maybe their plight is directly related to holding hostages too long. They brought war by dealing with the arms dealers who they held the hostages for even when their motivation was dead in Hawaii.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  24. OffTheWorldPolitics

    Even if Hezbollah may not be a direct threat to the United States this video clearly states that they are a threat to our NATO allies. We have an obligation to these allies to prevent terrorism that may harm them.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  25. america

    IRAN is no threat to american soil. the department of homeland security has been excellent at protecting the safety of american soil. let them try and launch a nuke. it wouldn't make it very far. and the fallout would be unleashed on their own people.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  26. Pnm9pnm

    I mean as is Jewish spash interest grops that go all over the earth an rip up Palastin famlys as to use callzes an affackt to steel land an assgreb homes more to that what must 1 do?pnm.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  27. mipsman

    Stop letting Jews set US foreign policy in the Mideast. They represent Israel's interests. not policies "in the best interest of the United States."

    August 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  28. ichorrid

    I'm just quaking in my boots. I hope Iran doesn't get me in my sleep.
    Perhaps they'd not be a "terror threat" if we'd quit giving them reasons to hate us.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • america

      the only reason they need is anyone who is not a muslim.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  29. Pnm9pnm

    I don't even need to read this or post yet anyway how wood not be a threat to a bunch of land grabbing home invading AKK Jews as in hebes an as good as smacks.(((((((((((((((,(((((stay out of my life.((((((((((((,,,,,?,(?)?))??????????pnm.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • Full Wit

      Spoken like a scholar, sir.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
      • shrinkDave

        Here here!

        August 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  30. John Smith

    Ever heard of the boy who cried wolf too many times? How many more times do the military industrial complex demons think we're going to fall for the same kind of tricks?

    August 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  31. orion7x

    Can't trust this... Wolf has become way biased..

    August 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  32. Phunnie boy

    After reading this post, now I'm scared silly at these Hezbollah guys. Is there any way to stop them? Please say there is, pretty please. I probably won't sleep all night!

    August 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  33. George Patton

    Here goes another lying right-wing thug in Washington trying to scare us with the Hezbollah this time. The Hezbollah poses as much of a danger to this country as pack of box turtles out in the open!!!

    August 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • shrinkDave

      In 1983, Islamic Jihad, the precursor to Hezbollah, killed hundreds of marines in Lebanon. Our fearless leader at the time decided to get out of dodge, leaving a vacuum that was filled by Hezbollah. You have plenty to fear from Hezbollah, as they not only pray for, but plan on the killing of Americans and non muslims everywhere.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  34. Ahmad

    Build up the precautionary possibility that Hezbollah and Iran can bomb anywhere they want in europe (Not sure why they would). Israel/US will kill some more of their people and abracadabra, you've got a perfect recipe for a false flag.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  35. Everett Wallace

    iran is a problem but the church "religion" is the BIGGEST problem for you all they are known as blessing blockers, they know they did not make the cut so they want to take everyone else to HELL with them. They have been doing some real nasty stuff, especially in the united states- moooooslims, chrisitians, catholics, buddhist and some of the american indians.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  36. Drveruju

    The official must be under orders from the Council on Foreign Relations to ratchet up the tensions, so we can have another war of choice and keep the MIC swimming in taxpayer dollars.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Quite true Drveruju, quite true.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  37. TrueGrissel

    Get Real<<< may have a good idea, reinstate the draft.We'd be solving a lot of internal problems in this country.
    This country lives to war and we like to finish them, so we reinstate the draft, this give 18-20 years olds a job, benefits, and a possible paid college education.
    We'll need to declare war on North Vietnam again but with all this technology we could win it and everyone here wins and South Vietnam is reborn.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  38. Chris

    We have put Iran under severe sanctions that in many ways mimic a blockade. A blockade is an act of war. We-the US-may think ourselves clever because we have not technically declared a blockade. But Iran, under severe pressure in Syria and Lebanon as well, does not seem to see things our way. They are responding... and this response will grow in intensity and violence. Pres. Obama needs to make a decision now-1) Keep pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program or 2) protect his ambitious (and needed) domestic agenda from the costs of war. He will not be able to do both. I'm surprised Pres. Obama has not made a case for containing Iran and de-escalating this current situation.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  39. samonrusty

    "The General's son" by Miko Peled

    August 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  40. samonrusty

    Pose a threat to whom? The Russian and Polish Jews in Israel/Palestine?

    August 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  41. a slozomby

    hmmm when did hezbolla cease being syria's stooge and become iran's stooge.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
    • TrueGrissel

      Don't be surprised if the CIA plants a bomb on one of our ships that are in the gulf out there then citing proof Irans' secret club of terrorists planted it and killed 42 American personnel.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  42. The POPE

    and what exactly do you expect Daniel Benjamin (Ashkenazi Jew) to say about Hizbollah and Iran ?

    August 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  43. Terrible_Ted

    Bomb em' back to the stone age.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  44. tupper

    Corporate America wants to keep the military budget at 20%, they need justification, used to be communists now it is Muslims.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • TrueGrissel

      1 like from me , one thumbs up.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  45. citizenmn

    Keep the sanctions on and whatever other covert activity it takes until the Islamic regime is toppled. They have been working against US interests ever since Khomeini set up this disgusting regime.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  46. Get Real

    Just re-instate the draft send 800,000 troops, 50,000 marines, 39,000 sailors and 1,000's of drones to Tehran.

    With in 2 hours the country will be done.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • Jason Robertson III

      haha. If it were only that easy.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • Marcy Fleming

      A very stupid idea by a very stupid brainwashed neoconman.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
    • Sodomite

      Re-instating the draft just might be worth it if for no other reason than to see the look on your face as you simultaneously soil yourself while reading your draft notice.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
  47. Omid

    Zionists Stuff!!

    August 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  48. Mordac

    Sounds like someone is wagging the dog...pretext to our next Middle East debacle?

    August 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  49. chris

    let me see if I have this right. AMERICA is supporting and DEFENDING a bunch of now CONFIRMED foreign JIHADIST IN SYRIA who are coming into that country from terrorist havens like PAKISTAN,IRAQ,LIBYA,YEMEN AND AFGHANISTAN to illegally overthrow the legitimate govorment in that country,but we want to single out IRAN?

    hillary the liar clinton STILL continues to lie and claim that the rebels are syrians who want democracy after it has been confirmed that AL-QAEDA is now leading the assault against assad and america calls Iran and hezzbollah terrorist?

    america has now become a state sponsor of terror under the disguise of democracy in syria and LIBYA and we want to lie on iran? no wonder the russians are defending assad to the end and will NOT let him fall. and wolfe blitzer is worse than farred zakaria when it comes to lies and propoganda.

    and zakarai has just been SUSPENDED by time magazine for using a co-workers story as his........PLAGERISM!!

    August 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
    • TrueGrissel

      Remember Baghdad Peter during the first Iraq war now maybe Wolkee is picking up the torch.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Reply
      • chris

        LOL!! FUNNY AS HELL!

        August 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  50. Roscoe Chait

    The Muslim Brotherhood should be added to the terrorist list.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Reply
    • Sodomite

      As should Likud.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
  51. peckbag

    Great, guess we need to bomb them, too. Bomb anyone that poses even a momentary "threat".

    August 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply


    August 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
    • TrueGrissel

      I'd say 100 mill of us know this PRESSTV.IR as some of us just want to live our life that we think we deserve. I think it's the corp. controlled government that can't exist without war as they need it to make profits and the commoners starve.

      Death and destruction creates jobs and profits here in the US.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • Freedtoo

      They are a threat because they would like to destroy Israel and the US, not because they are bullied, other than by their own leaders.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  53. TrueGrissel

    If we just shut up and leave everyone alone and stop trying to shove our pathetic values down the planets throat they would leave us alone.

    Life on this planet would be better off if we didn't exist.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Reply
    • LL

      You can start by eating the nearest gun,

      August 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  54. Jeb

    Careful Mr. administration official or the public will figure out why the US is really arming and training the 'rebels' in Syria, not that our proxy war against Iran is much of a surprise to anyone except apparently CNN.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • walter santos

      bem agora que já estão todos dormindo do vou continuar a construir meu ufo .astalavista bando de garotos que não sabem de nada . aprenda a nadar pois 21/12/12 já esta chegando e você ira morrer afogado juntamente com um bando de descapacitados que não sabem de nada ,e se fazem de besta demonstrando que estão preocupado com alguma coisa .

      September 22, 2012 at 1:09 am | Reply

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