The US administration is reportedly considering designating Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group as a terrorist organization.
The move by Washington is among several other options pending discussion to punish the Houthi militias, as the Saudi-led coalition pushes forward with a major assault on Hodeida.
The strategy has come up several times since 2016, according to Washington Post sources, but is under discussion once again as administration officials seek to apply further pressure on Iran.
The Trump administration on Monday imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran’s oils exports, shipping and banking, following a separate round applied earlier this year after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Experts told the paper that the move would be mostly symbolic because the rebels do not use international financial systems and few travel to the US, but it would allow the US to prosecute those aiding the group.
The move could, however, have implications for aid groups who might be required to obtain licenses from the US government in order to work in Houthi-controlled areas, the paper reported.
UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths had been attempting to bring the warring parties together for peace talks by the end of November, but those have been delayed until the end of the year, a UN spokesman has said.
After a week of intense battles on the outskirts of Hodeida, troops loyal to Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi made fresh advances on Thursday, entering residential neighborhoods using bulldozers to remove concrete blocks installed by Houthis, AFP reported.
Yemen is facing an increasingly dire humanitarian situation and the threat of widespread famine. As many as 56,000 people have been killed as a direct result of the conflict, according to a recent estimate.