Germany’s total ban on Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization drew a swift response Friday from Iran, with the Islamic republic saying “consequences” would follow.
As Breitbart News reported, Hezbollah was labeled a “Shiite terrorist organisation” with dozens of police and special forces storming mosques and associations across Germany linked to the terror group.
German political support followed swiftly.
Hezbollah activities “violate criminal law and the organization opposes the concept of international understanding,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in announcing the move.
“Hezbollah denies Israel’s right to exist, threatens violence and terror and continues to massively upgrade its rocket arsenal,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. “We in Germany must exhaust the means of the rule of law to take action against the criminal and terrorist activities of Hezbollah.”
The German crackdown on Hezbollah means its flags are banned at all demonstrations and meetings across the country. Berlin’s municipal government already bans Hezbollah symbols and flags at demonstrations.
Germany, like most of Europe, has until now dragged its feet in outlawing both the military and political arms of the Lebanon-based group to protect relations with Beirut and Tehran.
The U.S., UK, Netherlands and Israel designates the anti-Israel group in its entirety a terror organization.
The Hezbollah flag flies in London during the 2017 Al-Quds Day march. The Iran-backed group has since been banned in its entirety in the UK (Rachel Megawhat/Breitbart London)
Iran’s foreign ministry rejected the ban by saying it ignores “realities in West Asia,” according to the Tehran Times.
It “strongly” condemned the decision it said showed “complete disrespect to the government and nation of Lebanon, as Hezbollah is a formal and legitimate part of the country’s government and parliament.”
Iran said Hezbollah had a “key role in fighting Daesh’s terrorism in the region,” using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
“The German government must face the negative consequences of its decision in the fight against real terrorist groups in the region,” it added.
Iran has long been a major supporter of the group and its terror attacks on Israel.
Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Berlin and the acting U.S. director of national intelligence, urged all European Union countries to follow Germany and outlaw Hezbollah’s activities.
The organization “cannot be allowed to use Europe as a safe haven to support terrorism in Syria and across the Middle East,” he said.
“The world is a little bit safer with this German government ban of Hezbollah. The entire U.S. embassy in Berlin has worked with the German government and the Bundestag for two years to push for this ban. It’s an incredible diplomatic success that we hope will motivate many officials in Brussels to follow suit with an EU-wide ban,” Grenell told FoxNew.com in an interview.