According to the United Nations, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the worst in the world. Yemen was already a poor country before conflict there escalated in 2015, but the ongoing fight between the Houthis, aided and abetted by Iran, and the forces of the internationally recognized government has caused wide-spread devastation.
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent statement, “Iran’s support for the Houthis fuels the conflict in Yemen and exacerbates the country’s instability.” That support is spearheaded by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods-Force, the IRGC-QF, which is the Iranian regime’s primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.
On December 8, the United States designated Hasan Irlu, an IRGC-QF officer, whom Iran recently sent to Sana’a as the regime’s envoy to the Houthi rebels. As the U.S. Department of the Treasury pointed out in a statement, “Iran is the only nation to officially recognize, and appoint, formal so-called representation to the Houthis. For years, Irlu supported IRGC-QF efforts to provide advanced weapons and training to the Houthis…Irlu maintained a relationship with former IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani. He has also provided training to Hezbollah members in Iran.”
Secretary of State Pompeo declared that by “dispatching Irlu to Yemen, the IRGC-QF is signaling its intent to increase support to the Houthis and further complicate international efforts to reach a negotiated settlement. The United States,” he said, “continues to support efforts... to facilitate a ceasefire and political settlement.”
On December 8, the United States also designated Iran-based Al-Mustafa International University for facilitating IRGC-QF recruitment efforts at its many international branches. Pakistani national Yousef Ali Mufaj, who has been involved in the IRGC-QF efforts to plan and execute operations in the Middle East and the United States, was sanctioned as well.
“The IRGC-QF takes advantage of every opportunity to advance its violent and destructive agenda, including by exploiting conflicts across the Middle East and coercing vulnerable individuals to fight on behalf of the Iranian regime,” said Secretary of State Pompeo. “The United States will continue to use all available tools to expose and counter this malign behavior.”