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Houthi stand on beach after ship attack

Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen's Houthis last month, is anchored off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, December 5, 2023. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

U.S. and UK Coordinate Sanctions Against Iran-Backed Houthis

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 657
February 27, 2024

In a coordinated effort, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have imposed a series of sanctions on individuals and organizations providing financial or military aid to the Iranian-backed Houthis, a proxy group in Yemen, over their ongoing attacks against commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The actions aim to deter Houthi activities and undermine the destabilizing influence in the Middle East.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.K. government targeted Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, the Deputy Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), and Sa’id al-Jamal, an Iran-based financier. The United States also imposed sanctions on an unnamed member of the Houthi group, while the U.K. sanctioned a Houthi security minister for his role in facilitating Red Sea shipping attacks.

The U.S. also blacklisted the Hong Kong-based Cap Tees Shipping Co., Limited, and its vessel, the Artura, known for transporting Iranian commodities for Sa’id al-Jamal. Both the entity and the vessel are now under sanctions pursuant to U.S. counterterrorism authority Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.

The new sanctions come as the U.S. recently re-designated Ansarallah, commonly known as the Houthis, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist due to their ongoing unprecedented attacks on international maritime commerce in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

“Today’s action underscores our resolve to target efforts by the IRGC-QF and the Houthis to evade U.S. sanctions and fund further attacks in the region,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “As the Houthis persistently threaten the security of peaceful international commerce, the United States and the United Kingdom will continue to disrupt the funding streams that enable these destabilizing activities.”

The UK has sanctioned three IRGC-QF units: Unit 190, responsible for weapon transfers and smuggling to Iran’s allies; Unit 6000, overseeing operations on the Arabian Peninsula and supporting Houthi military activity in Yemen; and Unit 340, handling research, development, training, and technical support for Iran-backed groups.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron strongly condemned the attacks by the Iran-backed Houthis, calling them “unacceptable, illegal, and a threat to innocent lives and freedom of navigation”. He warned that the UK, along with its allies, will not hesitate to take action against those who seek to undermine regional stability.

The U.K. currently has over 400 sanctions designations in place on Iranian individuals and entities under its new Iran sanctions regime, introduced in December 2023.

In addition to these actions, the U.K. and U.S. governments have committed to disrupting the funding streams that enable the Houthis’ destabilizing activities. Both nations have previously imposed sanctions against 11 Houthi individuals and two entities, marking a continued effort to cut off the Houthis’ financial resources.

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