CAIRO (AP) – Iran’s Iran-backed rebels on Monday rejected America’s move to nominate them a terrorist organization in the final days of the Trump administration, while a major aid agency warned that such a designation would lead to another A “devastating blow” will occur and weaken the war-torn nation.
The planned designation, announced late Sunday night by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, will take effect on January 20, a day before President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. It was not clear whether Biden would overturn the decision.
Yemen is engulfed in a devastating humanitarian crisis with millions of the country’s vast swaths on the brink of famine as a result of a six-year civil war.
Pompeo said he was moving forward with the rebels’ designation, known as the Houthis, as well as a separate terrorist designation for the three top rebel leaders. At the same time, he pledged that the US would help absorb influence on aid groups and continue humanitarian aid in Yemen.
Several hours later, several senior rebel celebrities rescinded Pompeo’s announcement.
Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi tweeted, “We are not afraid.” “America is the source of terrorism. It is directly involved in killing and starving Yemeni people. “
Others said the designation was an attempt to divert attention from the US political crisis in the wake of the deadly Capital Riot and attempts to impeach President Donald Trump. Hautis Media official Abdel-Rahman al-Ahadoumi tweeted, “We are respected as terrorists and gangsters of the world.”
In Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned the end of Trump’s administration’s designation as a “wasted-to-failure” action. He said that the US would eventually have to enter into negotiations with the legitimate representatives of Yemen – referring to the Houthis – to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government described the Houthis as a “terrorist militia” and in a statement issued by its foreign ministry, “under political and legal pressures on the Houthis to pave the way for a peaceful settlement.” Called for “to grow and accelerate”. struggle.”
Yemen, at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. The war has killed more than 112,000 people, most of the country’s nearly 30 million people in need of humanitarian aid. War
The conflict began in 2014 when the Houthis captured the north and the capital Sanaa. The following year, the Saudi-led coalition intervened to wage war on the Houthis and tried to restore the government of internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansoor Hadi.
In early January, Hadi’s government accused the rebels of firing a ballistic missile, which targeted an aircraft with cabinet members following an attack in the southern port city of Aden, killing more than 25 people. Howthis denied that they were behind the strike.
After the attack, Yemeni Prime Minister Mayin Abdulmalik Saeed told The Associated Press that the rebels needed to feel that if they continued these criminal and terrorist operations, there would be no way to peace.
At the time, Abdulmalik said a terrorist designation would be a step of “great significance” and would “help establish the mind in Yemen.”
Past rounds of peace talks and ceasefire agreements have involved staggering and aid agencies, mostly operating in Houthi-controlled areas, fearing that any target of the rebel group would affect the entire population.
The Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the main humanitarian agencies operating in the country, said on Monday that Pompeo’s planned ban would “hinder the ability of aid agencies to respond to the humanitarian needs of millions”.
Yemen’s group director Mohammad Abdi said, “Yemen’s faltering economy will be dealt a more devastating blow.” “Getting food and medicine into Yemen – a country that is 80% dependent on imports – will be even more difficult.”
Relief organizations have long warned that sanctions proved disastrous for efforts to help Yemeni civilians caught in conflict between Hemis and the Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition in a war with rebels Can.
In its declaration, Pompeo stated that the US believes the designation may affect the human condition and will take action to counter it.
“We plan to take measures to reduce some of the human activities in Yemen and their impact on imports,” he said. He said those measures include the issuance of special licenses by the US Treasury to continue American aid to Yemen and to allow humanitarian organizations to continue to operate there.
Separately, the US has suspended millions of dollars of its aid donations to Houthi-controlled areas following news of aid theft and looting. United Nations agencies have long complained of rebels stealing and food aid.
Associated Press writer Nasir Karimi in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.