From her perch as chairwoman of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is proposing additional sanctions on Iran for its support of the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Ros-Lehtinen, the former chairwoman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, teamed up with U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, the chairman of the U.S. House Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, to bring out the “Houthis and Iran Sanctions Accountability Act” on Friday.
The bill would codify an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 sanctioning Iran for its backing of the Houthis. The legislation would also sanction “those who the president determines knowingly provides significant financial, material, or technological support to those who are in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216.”
Poe and Ros-Lehtinen explained why they thought the bill was needed.
“The chaos that Yemen has devolved into is yet another example of Iran’s destructive influence in the Middle East,” Poe said. “The Houthi rebels are financially, militarily, and logistically supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – the same nefarious arm of the Iranian regime that has long been fueling the fire of sectarian and civil discord throughout the region. The Iranians need to be held accountable for the mess and war they are perpetuating in Yemen. This bill will send a clear message to Tehran to stop their activities or pay the price. And that’s just the way it is.”
“Iran’s increasing support for the Houthi rebels has cast an even greater doubt over the possibility of a political solution to the conflict in Yemen,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “We know that the IRGC has transferred increasingly sophisticated weapons systems to the Houthis, which have been used against Saudi Arabia and even American naval vessels. And now with Hezbollah playing an increasing role in Yemen, we very likely could see this conflict mirror the one in Syria, with disastrous consequences for the region and for U.S. national security interests. That is why it is important that the U.S. hold Iran accountable for its repeated violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and for its increasing support for the Houthi rebels.”
Republican U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Michael McCaul of Texas and Dan Donovan of New York are also backing the legislation.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.
So far, more than 10,000 have died in the Yemen Civil War and around 3 million have been displaced.