Hezbollah denies U.S. accusations of drug trafficking

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a video screen as he addresses his supporters in Beirut, Lebanon January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah denied any involvement in drug trafficking on Friday, after the U.S. administration set up a team to investigate Hezbollah-linked drug trafficking.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week the creation of the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team would ensure the completion of an investigation programme called Project Cassandra.

"In recent weeks there were American accusations that are not new," said Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Hezbollah political and military movement.

"These accusations are unjust, not based on any facts, and have no truth," he said in a televised address. Nasrallah added that Hezbollah had a very clear religious and moral stance which forbids drugs and drug trading.

U.S. Republicans have criticised former President Barack Obama after a report that his administration hindered the Drug Enforcement Administration programme targeting Hezbollah, during its negotiation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The United States classifies the Iran-backed Shi'ite Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis; editing by Andrew Roche)