US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP)

December 15, 2020

The Trump administration on Tuesday slapped sanctions on an alleged Iranian-backed Shiite group in Bahrain that it accuses of trying to overthrow Bahrain’s government and plotting terrorist attacks on Americans in the country, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

The State and Treasury departments announced the sanctions as part of an administration-wide push to ramp up pressure on Iran before President Donald Trump leaves office next month. The sanctions freeze any assets the Saraya al-Mukhtar group has within U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing any business with it or its members.

“Saraya al-Mukhtar’s self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “This action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Saraya al-Mukhtar poses a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism.”

Bahrain’s government has long accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the country. While Iran has not directly seized or targeted a tanker in recent months as it did last year, a mine struck an oil tanker off Saudi Arabia and a cargo ship near Yemen came under assault recently.

Suspicion for that immediately fell on Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels for being behind both attacks. The Houthis have not commented on either.


About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.