US hits suspected funding ring linking Yemeni rebels and Iran
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions against a Yemeni network that the US government says is cooperating with Iranian Revolutionary Guards to illegally transfer tens of millions of dollars to Houthi rebels allied with Iran.
The Biden administration also announced that it was lifting sanctions against three former Iranian officials and two companies it said had been involved in banned oil sales, saying the United States had “verified a change of status or behavior “on their part.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the two measures in a statement. They come as the Biden administration tries both to push Yemeni rebels linked to Iran into peace talks for the Yemen war and to strike a deal returning the United States and Iran to a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
The money passing through the alleged Houthi funding network came from sales of Iranian oil and other commodities across the Middle East, Blinken said.
International officials and analysts say Iran has stepped up its material support for Yemen’s Houthi rebels as the war in the Arab nation passes the six-year mark. A Saudi-led coalition tries to push back the Houthis, who have captured the country’s capital and are now leading an offensive to capture a major northern city, in defiance of US and UN calls for a ceasefire -fire.
The new US action names 11 Yemeni individuals, alleged shell and middleman companies and ships involved in what it called illicit transfers.
Among the 11 people were Jami ” Ali Muhammad, a Houthis and a suspected associate of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who, according to the United States, helped “to procure ships, facilitate fuel shipments and transfer funds for the benefit of the Houthis, ”the United States said.
The 2015 nuclear deal is based on Iran limiting the development of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Iran by the United States and others. Talks in Vienna have focused in part on the timing of the lifting of US sanctions and the return of the Iranians to compliance.
The Biden administration’s statement said that the lifting of sanctions against the three former Iranian officials and two companies demonstrates “our commitment to lift the sanctions in the event of a change in the status or behavior of those sanctioned.” “.
The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers allowed it to resell crude oil on the international market. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the deal in 2018, leading Iran to smuggle its oil overseas and sell it.
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