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The UK and the US sanction Houthi opportunities

The UK and the US sanction Houthi opportunities


  • The UK sanctions package, co-ordinated with the US, targets those who support or enable the work of the Houthis across the Middle East and around the Red Sea.
  • The UK and US sanctions include both key units within the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and the Deputy Commander.
  • The Foreign Secretary warns the UK and our partners will not hesitate to act to protect regional stability and maritime security in the Red Sea.

Today, the UK and US announced a number of sanctions against those who support, enable or provide the work of the Houthis, the Iranian-backed proxy group in Yemen responsible for widespread attacks against merchant ships in the Red Sea.

The UK will today sanction two individuals and three organizations for their role in providing financial or military support to the Houthis in order to expose and disrupt their efforts to undermine regional stability across the Middle East. The UK will also sanction a Houthi security minister for threatening Yemen's peace, security and stability by supporting attacks against shipping in the Red Sea.

Today's announcement follows the commitment given by the prime minister on January 23 to cut off the financial resources of the Houthis. It is the second installment of recent sanctions targeting the Houthis or those who enable their activity, and follows additional pre-existing sanctions against 11 Houthi individuals and two entities.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:

Attacks by Iran-backed Houthis are unacceptable, illegal and a threat to innocent lives and freedom of navigation.

As I made clear to the Iranian Foreign Minister, the regime bears responsibility for these attacks because of the extensive military support it has given the Houthis.

All those seeking to undermine regional stability should know that the UK, together with our allies, will not hesitate to act.

Over the past few weeks, the Houthis have continued to carry out a number of dangerous attacks against merchant ships in the Red Sea.

Iran has supported the Houthis to carry out these attacks, providing intelligence, missiles and drones.

Individuals and entities subject to UK travel bans and/or asset freezes today, including:

  • Mohammad Reza Fallahzadeh: IRGC Quds Force Deputy Commander, also designated by the US today.

  • Said al-Jamal: Iran-based financier who heads a network of companies and front-line vessels that generate income for the Houthis. Previously designated by the US.

  • IRGC Quds Force Unit 190: responsible for the transfer and smuggling of weapons to organizations, groups and states allied to Iran.

  • IRGC Quds Force Unit 6000: responsible for operations in the Arabian Peninsula and has personnel on the ground in Yemen supporting Houthi military activity.

  • IRGC Quds Force Unit 340: responsible for research and development and providing training and technical support to Iranian-backed groups.

  • Ali Hussein Badr Al Din Al-Houthi: Undersecretary of the Interior and commander of the security forces/police.

The IRGC's Quds Force is the branch of the IRGC responsible for foreign operations and has provided extensive support to the Iraq-based Houthis, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran militia groups in recent years.

To date, the UK has more than 400 sanctions determinations against Iranian individuals and entities, including those seeking to use regional and international malign influence.

Most of today's designations are under the UK's new sanctions regime on Iran, which came into force in December 2023 and provides new powers to hold Iran and those who undertake its hostile activity accountable.

In addition, a denomination is also under Yemen's sanctions regime. Introduced as an autonomous regulation in the UK in 2020, it enables the UK to hold to account individuals or entities where they threaten peace, security or stability in Yemen.

Last month, the UK and US sanctioned key Houthi figures to hamper their ability to carry out attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, acts that undermine Yemen's peace, stability and security. It was the first set of UK sanctions against the Houthis since the Red Sea offensive began in November.

Further information

  • The Iran sanctions regime contains measures designed to target individuals and organisations, including designation powers designed to prevent the Government of Iran, or armed groups they support, from carrying out hostile activity against the UK or any other country .
  • Today's sanctions are targeted and not intended to impede or delay the delivery of life-saving aid, food imports or commercial activity that includes support for the people of Yemen.
  • The UK announced the first tranche of sanctions against key Houthi figures on 25 January 2024.
  • Pre-existing sanctions against 11 Houthi individuals and 2 entities remain in place. This includes Houthi security chief Sultan Zabin, who was sanctioned by the UN in February 2021 for leading a campaign of systematic arrests, detention, torture, sexual violence and rape against politically active women in Yemen. As well as Mansur Ahmad Al-Saadi, the Houthi Chief of Naval Staff, who has organized deadly attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea, plays a leading role in Houthi naval efforts that directly threaten the peace, security and stability of Yemen. .
  • Asset freeze: An asset freeze prevents any UK citizen, or any UK business, from dealing with any funds or economic resources owned, held or controlled by the specified person. It also prevents the provision of funds or economic resources to or for the benefit of the specified person. UK financial sanctions apply to all persons within UK territory and territorial sea and to all UK persons, wherever they are in the world.
  • Travel ban: A travel ban means that the individual must be refused permission to enter or remain in the UK, provided the individual is an excluded person under section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971 .
  • Targeted arms embargo: Prevents any obstruction of any UK citizen, or any UK business from trading in military goods or related technology and services (including training and support) to the specified person. It also prevents certain other types of support for certain persons that enable or facilitate the commission of armed hostilities. The Houthis are already subject to a UN arms embargo. UK trade sanctions apply to all persons within UK territory and territorial sea and to all UK persons, wherever they are in the world.




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