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Iran announces sanctions against US envoy to Yemen, cites pivotal role in humanitarian catastrophe

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Ambassador to Yemen Christopher Henzel

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has announced sanctions against US Ambassador to Yemen Christopher Henzel for his pivotal role in the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in the conflict-plagued, impoverished Arab country.   

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said that Tehran had put Henzel’s name on its blacklist, highlighting his role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

The statement said the US envoy was involved in leading the destructive war, massacre of innocent and oppressed people, arms, financial and political support to the aggressor coalition, and the ongoing cruel and inhumane sanctions in Yemen while he playing a role in a “sinister scenario” of the disintegration of Yemen, as well as destructive measures to impede a political settlement of the Yemeni crisis and the consequent persistence of the humanitarian catastrophe in the country, which is described as the “greatest tragedy of the century.”

The ministry said that the US envoy was sanctioned based on a law titled "Countering America’s Human Rights Violation and Adventurous and Terrorist Actions” that was passed by the Iranian Parliament in 2017.

According to sufficient evidence at hand, the US ambassador to Yemen has played an instrumental role in organizing, financing, arming, directing and carrying out the actions of the aggressor coalition in Yemen, the statement added, highlighting his role in violating the fundamental principles of international law, including international humanitarian law, and in imposition of illegal US sanctions on the people of Yemen.

A father gives water to his malnourished daughter at a feeding center in a hospital in Hudaydah, Yemen. (Via AP)

The announcement came a day after the administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump added the names of Iran’s ambassador to Yemen to the list of its sanctions.

Hassan Irloo, Iran’s new ambassador to Sana’a, had submitted his credentials to Yemeni officials in early November, amid the United States’ ire at the progressive course of the two countries’ relations.

In October, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus issued a raft of meddlesome remarks on Iran-Yemen relations, which featured Irloo and her accusations against him.

She addressed Iran’s appointment of the official as its new envoy to the Arab Peninsula country, claiming that the Islamic Republic had “smuggled” the official into Sana’a.

This is while Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh had previously verified the appointment and Iran’s reputable news agencies widely reported on the development.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) echoed Ortagus’ accusation back then that Irloo was “linked” to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), without providing any proof.

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