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U.S. Sanctions Five Iranians For Assisting Yemen's Huthis

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies on Russia and economic sanctions before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 14, 2018.

The United States has announced sanctions on five Iranians it said provided Yemen's Huthi rebel group with expertise and weaponry used to launch missiles at Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that Mehdi Azarpisheh, Mohammad Jafari, Mahmud Kazemabad, Javad Shir Amin, and Sayyed Mohammad Tehrani are the people being sanctioned.

It said the first four men worked with the Huthis through Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) by providing the rebel group with ballistic-missile related expertise and transferring "weapons not seen in Yemen prior to the current conflict."

Tehrani was sanctioned for allegedly aiding in the financing of the IRGC.

The fresh sanctions are part of the Trump administration's pledge to place tough new economic sanctions on Iran.

The Treasury Department announcement comes one day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would soon crack down on Iran's support for the Huthis.

Yemen's government has been fighting against the Iran-backed Huthi movement since 2015 in a war that has caused thousands of deaths and put the country on the verge of famine.

Saudi Arabia blames the Huthi rebels for firing a string of missiles at its cities and oil infrastructure, most recently on May 9.

Based on reporting by Reuters and the Treasury Department website