WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on 13 individuals and entities for allegedly funneling tens of millions of dollars in foreign currency to Yemen’s Houthi group from the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities.
The U.S. Treasury said in a statement that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s paramilitary and espionage force, backed the scheme involving a complex web of exchange houses and firms in multiple countries, including Yemen, Turkey, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Treasury Secretary Brian Nelson said funds provided by Iran have enabled recent attacks by the Houthis on commercial shipping in the Red Sea that endanger international trade.
“The Houthis continue to receive funding and support from Iran, and the result is unsurprising: unprovoked attacks on civilian infrastructure and commercial shipping, disrupting maritime security and threatening international commercial trade,” the Treasury statement quoted Nelson as saying.’
The Houthis say they have been staging drone and missile attacks against Israel and Israeli ships in the Red Sea in response to the offensive Israel launched against Hamas in Gaza after the Oct.7 rampage into Israel by Hamas militants.
Iran denies any involvement in the attacks.
The sanctions freeze all properties and interests in the United States of those targeted and generally prohibit Americans from conducting transactions with them.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay, Daphne Psaledakis and Susan Heavey; editing by Rami Ayyub and Bill Berkrot)