15:48 GMT04 March 2021
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    While US media reported financial hardships in Iran-allied Shia movements in the Middle East earlier in March, Fox News now claims it has exclusive intelligence to prove it.

    Iran has had to reduce its financial support of its allies in Lebanon and Palestine amid sanctions re-imposed by the Trump administration, a Fox News report says, citing "exclusively shared" intelligence materials.

    US State Department officials said the intelligence shows Tehran's diminishing resources as the Islamic Republic is struggling with economic hardships.

    Recently, the Palestinian movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, has introduced "austerity plans," Fox News writes. Coincidentally, the Lebanese Hezbollah movement started a social media campaign urging people to make donations.

    Other Shia armed groups have allegedly been cut loose by Tehran, who is said to no longer have the ability to provide funding, according to Fox News.

    According to the "exclusively shared" intelligence, US sanctions have prevented the export of some 1-3 million barrels of oil per month to Syria, creating fuel shortages as Syria struggles with the consequences of war.

    Fox also alleges — citing declassified intelligence — that Tehran had to reduce funding to its Cyber Defence Command amid this financial crisis.

    According to the report, the re-imposed sanctions have led to massive inflation that has already topped 50 per cent.

    Earlier in March, The New York Times already reported that Shia armed groups had their funding cut by Iran.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the sanctions regime at the time, saying they were imposed to counter Iran's support of its allies which the US Government considers terror groups.

    "Our pressure on Iran is simple," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during his visit to Lebanon in March. "It's aimed at cutting off the funding for terrorists, and it's working."

    The Fox News' report comes amid rapidly increasing tensions between the US and Iran. On Friday, Trump authorized sending 1,500 troops to the Middle East, in addition to the 10,000 soldiers reportedly stationed in military bases in Iraq. Before that, the US sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the Arabian Sea and reportedly initiated relocation of armed forces from Jordan to Iraq, citing the need to counter an unspecified Iranian threat.

    Tehran refuses any allegations of planning any military offence and insists it adheres to the terms of the so-called Iranian deal. However, Iran reacted to the rising tensions by giving the signatories to Iranian Deal an ultimatum, saying it will quadruple its uranium enrichment output in two months if they fail to effectively shield Tehran from US sanctions. This measure is said to remain within the boundaries of the deal.


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    funding, aid, sanctions, Hamas, Hezbollah, Mike Pompeo, Lebanon, Iran, Palestine, US
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