US sanctions five Iranians for providing Yemen’s Houthis with missile expertise
The US Department of the Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on five Iranians it said had supplied ballistic missile expertise to Yemen’s Houthis for attacks on Saudi Arabia.
The kingdom has been the target of more than 100 ballistic missile attacks since entering the Yemen civil war in 2015, with the most recent taking place on Monday evening.
The US Treasury said the five had transferred weapons not seen in Yemen prior to the conflict on behalf of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Qods Force.
“Their actions have enabled the Houthis to launch missiles at Saudi cities and oil infrastructure. They have also disrupted humanitarian aid efforts in Yemen, and threatened freedom of navigation in key regional waterways,” said treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The US said Mahmud Bagheri Kazemabad Bagheri and Mohammad Agha Ja’fari were sanctioned for acting on behalf of the IRGC Aerospace Forces Al-Ghadir Missile Command and overseeing the transfer of missile components and the deployment of ballistic missile experts in the region.
The other sanctioned individuals included IRGC officials Javad Bordbar Shir Amin and Mehdi Azarpisheh and a person with links to the organisation, Sayyed Mohammad Ali Haddadnezhad Tehrani.
Tehrani acted on behalf of or attempted to provide financial, material, technological or other support to the IRGC Research and Self-Sufficiency Jehad Organisation, the US Treasury said.
All property and interests of those designated are blocked and US persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. Foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for or provide material and other support to the group risk being cut off from the US financial system.
The US treasury called on regional allies to demonstrate extreme due diligence as Iran seeks to send equipment and materials to the Houthis in Yemen, after recent US targeting of Iranian abuse of the Iraqi and UAE financial systems.
The most recent attack by Yemen’s Houthis on Saudi Arabia on Monday night was intercepted by air defences over the city of Jizan.
Another missile attack on Khamis Mushait was detected on Saturday. The Saudi coalition in Yemen said one missile was intercepted and another fell in an empty desert area.
The kingdom suffered its first casualty from a missile attack in March when an Egyptian resident of Riyadh was hit by debris from three missiles targeting the capital as part of a wider attack also aimed at Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait.
The Saudi coalition said last month that 119 rockets and 6,6259 projectiles had been fired across the border into the kingdom as of April 16.