US sanctions network with ties to Houthis, Iran

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The U.S. on Thursday announced sanctions against an international network that has ties to Houthi rebels and Iran in an effort to pressure the group to agree to a cease-fire in Yemen.

The State Department said it was penalizing Sa’id Ahmad Muhammad al-Jamal and other individuals and entities who make up a smuggling network that nets the Houthis tens of millions of dollars’ worth of funds in cooperation with senior officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

The network sells goods like Iranian oil throughout the Middle East and beyond and funnel large amounts of their revenue to the Houthi rebel group.

“The United States is working to help resolve the conflict in Yemen and bring lasting humanitarian relief to the Yemeni people,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“It is time for the Houthis to accept a ceasefire and for all parties to resume political talks. Only a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire can bring the urgent relief needed by Yemenis, and only a peace agreement can resolve the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” he said. “The United States will continue to apply pressure to the Houthis, including through targeted sanctions, to advance those goals.” 

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets the 12 individuals and entities own and bar Americans from doing business with them. Any foreign corporations that deal with them could also risk being blacklisted. 

The U.S. has tried to press the Houthis, which receive funding and other support from Iran, into accepting a cease-fire in Yemen’s brutal civil war. The administration last month also sanctioned two top officials involved in the rebel group’s offensive to seize the oil-rich region of Marib.

The Biden administration has taken other steps to try to quell the fighting, including ending U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations and removing a terrorist designation against the Houthis, a label critics said would stop humanitarian aid from reaching areas under the group’s control.

The war between the Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition has produced one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history, leading to a mass shortage of food and medicine.

Tags Antony Blinken Houthi movement Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict Yemen Yemeni Crisis

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