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US, UK impose sanctions on IRGC deputy, Houthi member

By AFP - Feb 27,2024 - Last updated at Feb 27,2024

A handout photo provided by the Yemeni Al Joumhouriya TV on Monday, shows the Rubymar cargo ship sinking off the coast of Yemen (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — The United States and Britain announced fresh sanctions on Tuesday against an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) deputy commander, alongside a Houthi member.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting shipping in the Red Sea area for months, persisting in attacks despite repeated US and British strikes aimed at degrading their ability to threaten the vital global trade route.

Brian Nelson, US Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the latest sanctions underscore resolve in targeting efforts by the IRGC Quds Force and Houthis to evade sanctions and fund more attacks in the region.

The Quds Force is the IRGC branch responsible for foreign operations, with officials saying it supports militant groups across the region, including the Houthis, Hamas and Hizbollah.

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 destabilising activities", Nelson said.

"The UK will also sanction a Houthi security minister for threatening the peace, security and stability of Yemen by supporting attacks against shipping in the Red Sea," British authorities said in a statement.

Among those targeted on Tuesday are Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, current deputy commander of the IRGC Quds Force.

Houthi member Ibrahim Al Nashiri was also named by the United States over support of the group's militant efforts.

The US Treasury noted that the Quds Force and Houthis "engage in the sale of Iranian commodities to foreign buyers to generate revenue" for funding Houthi operations.

The Treasury also announced sanctions against the owner and operator of a vessel used to ship Iranian commodities — Hong Kong-based Cap Tees Shipping Co — to support both the Houthis and IRGC Quds Force.

“The revenue generated through these illicit networks enables the Houthis’ militant efforts, including numerous terrorist attacks in the region using advanced unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles,” the US Treasury said.

In a separate statement, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the Houthis’ attacks “unacceptable, illegal and a threat to innocent lives and freedom of navigation”.


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