An Interior Ministry spokesman has denied that an outright ban of Hezbollah by Germany was on the cards. Steve Alter clarified on Twitter that reports about a so-called “ban on activities” of Hezbollah — which is a less stringent legal measure — “cannot be confirmed.”
Earlier, Der Spiegelmagazine had reported that Germany’s Interior, Justice and Foreign Ministries had agreed to move towards outlawing Iran-backed Hezbollah.
It said that the decision was to be announced at the German interior ministers’ meeting next week.
The news agency dpa had also reported that Germany was close to announcing a ban on the group’s activities, a move that would allow banning certain activities or people, but would not constitute an outright ban.
Reuters news agency merely reported that Germany’s attorney general had been given full power of attorney to investigate Hezbollah’s activities in September.
The reports came barely two months after US ambassador Richard Grenell renewed pressure on Germany to ban the Lebanese-based organization, which the US has classified as a terrorist organization.
EU split on Hezbollah
Most European Union states, including Germany, so far only consider Hezbollah’s military arm as a terrorist group. EU efforts to ban the group have been held up primarily by France, with its government arguing that distinguishing between its political and military arms helps foster dialogue Hezbollah and, ultimately, prompt it to alter its policies.
Israel, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and the Arab League are some of the countries or entities that classify the entire group as a terrorist organization.
Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist party and paramilitary organization operating in Lebanon and supported by Iran. It has had a presence in the country’s parliament since 1992 and its military wing is said to be more powerful than Lebanon’s armed forces.
It is responsible for frequent attacks on Israel and denies the Jewish state’s right to exist.
The German government has so far argued that recognizing Hezbollah as a legitimate part of Lebanon’s government is necessary for political engagement with the Middle Eastern country.