February 29, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S., UK Sanction Iranian Deputy Commander and Houthi Member

February 29, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S., UK Sanction Iranian Deputy Commander and Houthi Member

Latest Developments

The United States and the United Kingdom jointly sanctioned an Iranian military official and a member of the Iran-backed Houthi terrorist group on February 28. In a statement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said it targeted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) deputy commander Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh for his role and service in a designated foreign terrorist organization. Treasury also sanctioned Houthi member Ibrahim al-Nashiri for supporting “the Houthis’ militant efforts.”

“The IRGC-QF has provided the Houthis with an increasingly sophisticated arsenal of weapons and the training to deploy these weapons against commercial shipping and civilian infrastructure in the region,” Treasury stated. The sanctions come as Iran continues arming and assisting the Houthis, who have repeatedly attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Expert Analysis

“Substantially degrading the Houthi threat requires offensive strikes in Yemen augmented by systematic efforts to sever the flow of weapons and funding from Iran to the Houthis. That’s easier said than done and will take time and persistence, but this Treasury action in conjunction with the British is a positive initial step. To be effective, the administration needs to coordinate with allies to quickly ramp up enforcement actions against the Houthis and their financiers.” Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“Iran’s partnership with the Houthis has turned the Yemeni terror group into the most lethal member of the Axis of Resistance when it comes to long-range strike capabilities. Iran’s direct and continuing material support to this group is enabling its harassment of and attacks against commercial shipping in the region, which are in effect an update of the strategy Iran has employed in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz for many years.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

Companies Sanctioned for Facilitating Iranian Shipping

The United States also sanctioned the Panamanian-flagged crude oil tanker MV Artura and its Hong Kong-based operator, Cap Tees Shipping Co., for transporting Iranian commodities for the network of sanctioned IRGC-QF-backed Houthi financier Said al-Jamal. The ship disguised some of its journeys by using the name of another vessel, the Sanan II, to complete shipments. In addition, the United States sanctioned two companies that own the oil tanker MV Kohana. According to Washington, the Panamanian-flagged vessel is “shipping over $100 million in Iranian commodities to businesses” in China “on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics.”

U.S. Seeks to Expand Military Coalition

On February 24, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted joint airstrikes against 18 Houthi targets across eight locations in Yemen to degrade their ability to strike ships in the region. On February 27, U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking told Congress that the United States would like to expand the number of countries participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian or direct attacks on Houthi military targets. “It should not be all on the U.S. and the UK,” Lenderking told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee. “We need to see our Gulf partners in the game much more, and I think we all feel that that is the case.”

10 Things to Know About the Houthis,” FDD Flash Brief

Houthis Target Israel and International Shipping,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Conducts Cyberattack Against Iranian Spy Ship Helping Houthis,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Sanctions Iran-backed Terrorism