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Fri Aug 10, 2012, 02:41 PM

New, Largely Symbolic, US Sanctions On The Assad Regime, Hezbollah [View all]

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration set new, largely symbolic, sanctions Friday on Syria's state-run oil company and the Hezbollah militant group, moves designed to underscore Iran's key role in propping up the Syrian regime over the span of its civil war.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the penalties against energy firm Sytrol come after it delivered $36 million worth of gasoline to Iran in April. At the same time, Tehran was "actively advising, supplying, and assisting the Syrian security forces and regime-backed militias that are carrying out gross human rights abuses against the Syrian people."

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department targeted Hezbollah for "training, advice and extensive logistical support to the government of Syria's increasingly ruthless efforts to fight against the opposition." It also blamed the Lebanese Shiite militant group for coordinating Iranian assistance to the Syrian government.

Neither action will change Americans' behavior much. Americans have been banned from doing business with Hezbollah since the U.S. declared it a foreign terrorist organization in the 1990s. Decades of U.S. sanctions against Syria have hampered energy trade between the two countries, and President Barack Obama blacklisted any new imports a year ago.

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http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_US_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-08-10-13-45-15

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