January 11, 2018 / 2:12 PM / 6 months ago

Attorney General Sessions sets up Hezbollah investigation team

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has set up a team to investigate individuals and organizations providing support to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamist group in Lebanon that the U.S. has branded a terrorist organization, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Republicans have criticized former President Barack Obama following a December Politico report that the Obama administration hindered a Drug Enforcement Administration program targeting Hezbollah’s trafficking operations during its negotiation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Republican President Donald Trump says Obama gave away too much to Iran to secure the agreement, which gives Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Sessions said the Justice Department will assemble leading investigators and prosecutors for the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team to ensure all investigations under the DEA program, called Project Cassandra, will be completed.

“The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” Sessions said.

Reporting by Blake Brittain; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Bernadette Baum

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