Iran is ‘routinely exporting violence and terrorism throughout the region - Mike Pence

US sanctions two leaders of ‘Iranian-backed militias’ in Iraq, blames Tehran for ‘spreading terror’

Washington has imposed sanctions on two Iraqi militia leaders, accusing them of human rights violations. US VP Mike Pence blamed Iran for backing them and said the US won’t “stand by” while Tehran “spreads terror.”

The announcement was made by Vice President Pence as he was speaking at the Second Annual Religious Freedom Ministerial in Washington DC on Thursday. He blamed Iran for “routinely exporting violence and terrorism throughout the region,” and said the US is sanctioning two leaders of “Iranian-backed” Iraqi militias that “terrorize” locals.

While Pence did not actually name the sanctioned individuals, the US Department of the Treasury rolled out its own statement on the restrictions shortly after his announcement.

Four Iraqis – two militia figures Rayan al-Kildani and Waad Qado, and two former Iraqi governors, Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan and Ahmed al-Jubouri, were added to its sanctions list over alleged human rights violations under the Magnitsky Act.

Al-Kildani and Qado are leaders of the 50th and 3th militia brigades respectively, according to the Treasury. The two – as well as the former governors – are accused of assorted human rights violations. While Pence squarely blamed Iran for backing the two militia leaders, the Treasury’s statement mentions Iran only once, while describing the allegations against one of the governors.

“Al-Jubouri has been known to protect his personal interests by accommodating Iran-backed proxies that operate outside of state control,” the statement reads.

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