U.S. Treasury Department Sanctions Financing Network Of Iran-Backed Houthis

(New York, N.Y.) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently announced terrorism-related sanctions imposed on a group of twelve individuals and entities reportedly affiliated with funding the Iran-backed Houthis—officially known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God)—in Yemen. U.S. officials believe the targeted financing network “generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue from the sale of commodities, like Iranian petroleum, a significant portion of which is then directed through a complex network of intermediaries and exchange houses in multiple countries to the Houthis in Yemen.”

The individuals and entities—who allegedly are in cooperation with senior officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s Quds Force (IRGC-QF)—sell commodities throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The revenue from those sales have further supplemented the Houthis and their ongoing offensive on Yemeni soil. Among the most notorious of the designations is Sa’id Ahmad Muhammad al-Jamal, an Iran-based Houthi financial supporter, who directs the network of front companies and vessels. Al-Jamal also maintains connections to Hezbollah as he works with the group to send millions of dollars to support the Houthis and their operations.

Yemeni officials have long accused Iran of providing political, financial, and logistical support to the Houthis and other secessionist movements in Yemen. Despite a 2015 U.N. Security Council Panel of Experts report confirming Tehran’s support of the rebel group since at least 2009, Iran and the Houthis have historically denied engaging in past cooperation. Nevertheless, other reports subsequently confirmed Iranian support, including a Reuters article in December of 2014 confirming financial backing by Tehran. Only in 2015 did a Houthi official confirm that Iran provided “direct support” in the form of logistics, intelligence, and cash, to the Houthis rebels.

According to the official, the group has received tens of millions of dollars from the Iranian regime in recent years. Experts place the amount of financial support from Iran at between $10 and $20 million per year, including at least one alleged payment of $3.7 million.

The Houthis are a designated terror organization in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. Department of State designated the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in January 2021, but revoked that designation the following month.

To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s Houthis resource, please click here.

To read CEP’s Sa’id Ahmad Muhammad al-Jamal resource, please click here.

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