The United States welcomes Australia’s intention to declare in its entirety a terrorist organization under Australia’s criminal code.
Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said that the Iran-backed Shiite group "continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organizations" and poses a "real" and "credible" threat to Australia. In the past, Australia designated only Hezbollah’s “External Security Organization” a terrorist entity.
In a statement applauding Australia’s decision, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said, “Erasing the erroneous distinction between Hezbollah’s military wing and the rest of the terrorist organization is a critical step forward.”
Hezbollah itself makes no distinction between its military and political branches. In 2012, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem said, "We don't have a military wing and a political one; every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, are in the service of the resistance.”
The United States has called on all countries to erase the false dichotomy between Hezbollah’s so-called “wings” and treat the entire organization for what it is – a supporter and purveyor of terror around the world, whose financiers should be subject to sanctions, whose assets should be subject to seizure, and whose activities should be subject to preemptive investigations.
Many nations have responded to the call, including Austria, members of the Arab League, Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Honduras, Argentina, and other European and Latin American countries – now, Australia as well.
“Hezbollah is a dangerous terrorist organization that threatens the safety of the international community and undermines the sovereignty of the Lebanese state,” said Spokesperson Price. “The organization’s robust paramilitary and terrorist capabilities, as well as its propaganda machine and corrupt financial networks, are major obstacles to peace and stability in Lebanon, in the Middle East and around the world. [The action taken by Canberra] is an important step toward countering Hezbollah’s ability to operate in Australia and abroad.”