The UK and US Sanction Houthi Enablers

A UK sanctions package, coordinated with the US, targets those that support or enable the work of the Houthis across the Middle East.
February 27, 2024

Related Library Documents: 

  • UK sanctions package, coordinated with the US, targets those that support or enable the work of the Houthis across the Middle East and around the Red Sea
  • UK and US sanctions both include key units within the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and the Deputy Commander
  • 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 have announced a number of sanctions against those that support, enable or deliver work of the Houthis, the Iran-backed proxy group in Yemen responsible for widespread attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

The UK will today sanction 2 individuals and 3 organisations 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 the peace, security and stability of Yemen by supporting attacks against shipping in the Red Sea.

Today’s announcement follows the commitment laid out by the Prime Minister on the 23 January to cut off the Houthis financial resources. It is the second tranche of recent sanctions targeted at the Houthis or those that enable their activity and follows additional pre-existing sanctions against 11 Houthi individuals and 2 entities.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:

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

As I have made clear to the Iranian Foreign Minister, the regime bears responsibility for these attacks due to the extensive military support it has provided to the Houthis.

All those who seek to undermine regional stability should know that the UK, alongside our allies, will not hesitate to act.

Over recent weeks, the Houthis have continued to carry out a number of dangerous attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

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

The individuals and entities that are subject to UK travel bans and/or asset freezes today including:

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

  • Sa’id al-Jamal: Iran-based financier who heads a network of front companies and vessels that generate revenue for the Houthis. Previously designated by the US

  • IRGC Quds Force Unit 190: in charge of transferring and smuggling weapons to organisations, groups and states that are allied with Iran

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

  • IRGC Quds Force Unit 340: in charge of research and development and providing training and technical support to groups backed by Iran

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

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

To date, the UK has more than 400 sanctions designations in place on Iranian individuals and entities, including those that seek to use malign influence regionally and internationally.

A majority of today’s designations sit under the UK’s new Iran sanctions regime, which came into effect in December 2023 and provides new powers to hold Iran and those who undertake its hostile activity to account.

In addition to this, one designation also sits under the Yemen sanctions regime. Introduced as autonomous regulations in the UK in 2020, it enables the UK to hold individuals or entities to account where they threaten peace, security or stability in Yemen.

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