July 12, 2024

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US cracks down on money flow to Iran-backed Houthis

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The US has slapped sanctions on groups in Turkey and Yemen allegedly responsible for funnelling money to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in a crackdown driven by their attacks on commercial vessels passing through the Red Sea.

The move by Washington expands its efforts to curb financial flows to Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East — including Hamas, Hizbollah and the Houthis — since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Based in Yemen, the Houthis have launched a series of attacks against commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since mid-November using missiles and drones, raising concerns about significant disruption to international trade as ships have been forced to reroute trips around the tip of South Africa.

The US Treasury department said on Thursday it was placing sanctions on one individual and three entities “responsible for facilitating the flow of Iranian financial assistance to Houthi forces and their destabilising activities”.

“Today’s action underscores our resolve to restrict the illicit flow of funds to the Houthis, who continue to conduct dangerous attacks on international shipping and risk further destabilising the region,” said Brian Nelson, the US Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The sanctions were placed on the head of the Currency Exchangers Association in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, and three exchange houses in Yemen and Turkey. According to the US Treasury, they “facilitated the transfer of millions of dollars to the Houthis at the direction of . . . Sa’id al-Jamal”, a financier affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Quds Force.

The White House has accused Iran of being “deeply involved” in planning the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, including providing the group with “tactical intelligence” to help it…

2023-12-28 12:34:11

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