Iran blacklists US envoy to Yemen in tit-for-tat move | Middle East

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Iran and the United States have blacklisted their respective envoys in war-torn Yemen, where the two countries support opposing factions.

Tehran, Iran – Iran imposed sanctions on the US ambassador to Yemen a day after US President Donald Trump’s administration blacklisted Tehran’s envoy to the besieged country.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Iran’s foreign ministry said Christopher Henzel was blacklisted for his “central role in the onset of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

The current crisis is “the greatest tragedy of the century” perpetrated by a US-led coalition that wants to break up Yemen, he said.

Henzel was appointed under a law approved by the Iranian parliament at the end of July 2017 which aims to combat “human rights violations and US adventurism and terrorist acts in the region”.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Henzel had “effective participation” in the financing and arming of the Saudi-Emirati coalition and violated the human rights of the people of Yemen by imposing and enforcing sanctions.

The sanctions come a day after the outgoing Trump administration continued its campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran by sanctioning Hasan Irlu, Iran’s ambassador to Yemen.

The United States has described Irlu as a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force and “the Iranian regime’s envoy to the Houthi rebels” in Yemen.

“In doing so, Iran is the only country to recognize and officially name a so-called official representation of the Houthis,” the US State Department said.

Iran is backing Houthi fighters, who are trying to oust Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi, who came to power in 2011 following the Arab Spring uprisings.

A US-backed coalition, joined by Iranian rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, supports Hadi’s government.

The war between the two factions has been going on for years, leading to a “humanitarian catastrophe” which, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has caused more than 27,000 Yemenis to flee the country and 3.6 million people. displaced.

After being sanctioned, the Iranian ambassador thanked Trump and said he was ready to sacrifice himself if necessary.

“I thank the player Trump, who insists on showing the true face of the US government and the regime’s lack of commitment to international law by sanctioning an ambassador,” Irlu wrote in Farsi and Arabic tweets.

“But on the road to liberating the nations of the region from the crimes of the United States and Zionism, we do not fear sanctions or martyrdom, but we are proud of it.”

A similar move took place between Iran and the United States in late October, when Iran imposed sanctions on the U.S. ambassador to Iraq after Washington blacklisted Tehran’s envoy to Baghdad.

Tensions between the two countries have been rising steadily since Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018 and imposed severe sanctions on Iran.

Economic sanctions have blacklisted the entire Iranian financial sector, while terrorist and human rights designations have also retargeted Iranian entities and individuals already targeted by US sanctions in an attempt to make it more difficult for an administration Joe Biden to lift them.



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