May 21, 2017 / 1:19 PM / 3 months ago

Hezbollah calls U.S. administration 'mentally impeded' during Trump Saudi visit

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) waits for the start of an event with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2-R) and Gulf Cooperation Council leaders at their summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.Jonathan Ernst

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A senior Hezbollah official recently blacklisted by Washington and Riyadh called the U.S. administration "mentally impeded and crazy" on Sunday as President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, in the group's latest verbal attack on the United States.

Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, president of the Iran-backed Shi'ite group's executive council, said Washington would not be able to do any real harm to Hezbollah.

"America's contempt and blockading that targets our region, countries and communities are proof that it is much weaker than it was in past decades, especially since Trump continues to lead," he said, according to a statement.

"This mentally impeded, crazy U.S. administration headed by Trump will not be able (to harm) the resistance (Hezbollah) and will achieve nothing more than further media clamour," he said, adding that Hezbollah would have "stronger resolve than before", without elaborating.

Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch foe, said on Friday it had blacklisted Safieddine. The United States Treasury Department also added him to its counter-terrorism blacklist, before Trump travelled to Riyadh and sealed a $110 billion arms deal with the Sunni Arab kingdom.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in February called Trump an "idiot".

Tensions between old enemies Hezbollah and Israel, which fought a war in 2006, have ramped up since Trump took office this year adopting an aggressive posture towards Iran.

Israel and the United States both regard Hezbollah, which dominates Lebanese politics and maintains an armed militia that has had a significant part in fighting for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as a terrorist organisation.

Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Mark Potter

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