US sanctions Iran’s envoy to Al Houthis

Cairo: The US has announced sanctions on the Iranian envoy to its Yemeni allies Al Houthis, accusing Tehran of continuing to foment unrest in the impoverished country. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that it is designating Hasan Irlu, an official in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Tehran’s envoy to the Yemeni rebels.

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“Iranian support to the Houthis, spearheaded by the IRGC-QF, continues to foment instability in Yemen, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the Department of Treasury said in a statement.

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Iran has recently sent Irlu to the militia-controlled capital Sana’a as Tehran’s envoy to Al Houthis, becoming the only country to recognise the Yemeni rebels, according to the Department of the Treasury.

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”The appointment of an IRGC-QF official as an envoy to the Houthi rebels in Yemen demonstrates the Iranian regime’s indifference to resolving the conflict, which has led to the widespread suffering of millions of Yemenis,” said US Secretary of the Treasury Steven T Mnuchin.

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The US also announced taking punitive action against Iran’s Al Mustafa International University that has branches around the world and accused it of facilitating IRGC-QF recruitment efforts.

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“The IRGC-QF’s recruitment of foreign students for intelligence operations illustrates the degree to which the group has infiltrated Iranian society in order to achieve its destructive goals. These efforts, and the pervasive role the IRGC-QF plays in Iranian foreign policy, contribute to the erosion of trust in Iran’s public and private institutions,” Mnuchin added.

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Iran is a major ally of Al Houthis, who plunged Yemen into a devastating conflict after they toppled the internationally recognised government and overran Sana’a in late 2014.

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The Yemeni government has repeatedly accused Iran of providing military support for Al Houthis.

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