Today, the United States is designating Hasan Irlu, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF) officer Iran recently sent to Sana’a Yemen to serve as the group’s liaison to the Houthi Movement. The United States is also designating Al-Mustafa International University, an Iranian university with over 50 international branches which provide a platform for the IRGC-QF’s operations, and Yousef Ali Muraj, who has supported IRGC-QF recruitment operations in the Middle East and United States. We are designating these individuals and this entity pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.
The IRGC-QF is the Iranian regime’s primary tool to sow chaos and destruction across the Middle East. The United States will continue to take action against the IRGC-QF to disrupt its facilitation networks and cut off resources that support the terrorist group’s activities.
Iran’s support for the Houthis fuels the conflict in Yemen and exacerbates the country’s instability. By dispatching Irlu to Yemen, the IRGC-QF is signaling its intent to increase support to the Houthis and further complicate international efforts to reach a negotiated settlement to the conflict. The United States continues to support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and Yemen’s neighbors to facilitate a ceasefire and political settlement. The people of Yemen deserve peace and stability. We are designating Irlu pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF.
Al-Mustafa International University is based in Iran and maintains dozens of international branches that facilitate IRGC-QF operations through the recruitment of international students, including Americans. The international community should be wary of Iranian influence, espionage, and terror operations facilitated by the regime’s educational infrastructure. The IRGC-QF has recruited Pakistani and Afghan students at Al-Mustafa International University to join the Zaynabiyoun Brigade and Fatemiyoun Division, two militias fighting on behalf of the IRGC-QF in Syria that were previously designated under counterterrorism and human rights authorities. We are designating Al-Mustafa International University pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, IRGC-QF.
Also designated under today’s action is Yousef Ali Muraj, an Iran-based Pakistani national who has been involved in the IRGC-QF’s efforts to coordinate, plan, and execute operations in the Middle East and United States. We are designating Muraj pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted, or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF.
The IRGC-QF takes advantage of every opportunity to advance its violent and destructive agenda, including by exploiting conflicts across the Middle East and coercing vulnerable individuals to fight on behalf of the Iranian regime. The United States will continue to use all available tools to expose and counter this malign behavior.
– Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State