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OFAC Issues Guidance as Sanctions Against Houthis Take Effect

The Office of Foreign Assets Control on Feb. 16 issued a new guidance document on U.S. sanctions against Ansarallah, also known as the Houthis, to coincide with sanctions taking effect on the Yemeni group that same day pursuant to its formal addition to the Specially Designated Nationals list.

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As a result of that addition, U.S. persons are as of Feb. 16 now “prohibited from engaging in transactions” with the group, and “all property and interests in property of Ansarallah that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons as of” Feb. 16 “are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,” the guidance document said.

The sanctions were announced by the White House in January, with a 30-day delayed implementation of the sanctions that was intended to ensure pathways are in place for humanitarian goods by the time the sanctions took effect (see 2401170025).

As noted by the White House when it announced the sanctions last month, the guidance said the sanctions “are not intended to stand in the way of legitimate assistance to, and trade with, the Yemeni people.” It said “shipping and delivery of critical supplies to the Yemeni people can continue, in compliance with U.S. sanctions,” and the “shipping of commercial goods into ports and airports in Houthi-controlled areas, including transactions normally incident to such shipments (e.g., port fees), is not prohibited.”

The guidance document includes information on the six OFAC general licenses that now apply to transactions involving Ansarallah, including the five announced in January, as well as information on “key prohibitions” under the sanctions and “pre-existing authorizations. It also includes a series of questions and answers on the new sanctions.

That sixth general license, also announced Feb. 16, authorizes otherwise prohibited transactions that are “ordinarily incident and necessary to the official business of third-country diplomatic or consular missions.”