U.S. to blacklist Iranian official, university – U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States plans to impose terrorism-related sanctions on Hasan Irlu, Iran’s ambassador to Yemen, and on Iran’s Al-Mustafa International University, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official described Irlu as an official of Iran’s elite Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, and called the university a platform for Quds Force operations and recruitment abroad.

He said both would be targeted under U.S. Executive Order 13224, which allows the U.S. government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.

The U.S. Treasury and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The decision to target Irlu appears in part a signal to Yemen’s Houthi movement, which has been battling a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen since 2015.

The United Nations is trying to revive peace talks stalled since late 2018 to end a war that has been in a military deadlock for years, with the Houthis holding the capital, Sanaa, and most big urban centers.

Washington and Riyadh see the Yemeni group as an extension of Iranian influence in the region. Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last month that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, in an effort to support the Saudis, had threatened to blacklist the Houthi movement.

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