The Trump administration imposed its first terrorism sanctions jointly with Saudi Arabia on Friday as President Donald Trump travels to the kingdom on his first overseas trip.
Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had blacklisted Hashem Safieddine, a prominent leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah that is a close ally of Riyadh's arch-regional adversary Iran.
Saudi Arabia joined the U.S. in targeting Safieddine, who is said to oversee the financial empire of the Lebanon-based party.
the State Department said in a statement.
""The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined the United States in designating Hashem Safieddine, As a result, any of his assets held in Saudi Arabia are frozen, and transfers through the kingdom's financial sector are prohibited,"
Separately, the department's Bureau of Counter terrorism tweeted that this marked the "first-ever" State Department and foreign nation "joint terrorist designation", underlining the close cooperation between US and Saudi officials.
Safieddine was working in the interest of Hezbollah in the Middle East and provided advice to launch "terrorist operations" and support the Syrian regime, SPA said.
Safieddine is president of Hezbollah's executive council, which oversees the group's social and economic activities. Hezbollah is regarded by Washington as a terrorist organization.
The group, which was formed in the 1980s to fight Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon that ended in 2000, is now fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces against rebels backed by Sunni Gulf Arab states.
Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have been locked in a harsh rivalry over power and influence in the Middle East, sometimes deploying sectarian rhetoric.
The Trump administration said the four men have "committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism" and threaten U.S. national security.
In all cases, the sanctions work to restrict those targeted from accessing funding or property.Trump is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh on Saturday morning at the start of his five-stop trip across the Middle East and Europe.