On March 17, the U.S. State Department sanctioned two Bahrainis with ties to Iran for supporting terrorism. One was affiliated with the al Ashtar Brigades, which has received funding and support from the Iranian government and carried out attacks in Bahrain. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, however, dismissed the allegations as political. In the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, Shiite Bahrainis held mass demonstrations against the Sunni-dominated government. The following is the full text of the State Department’s announcement with remarks by Qassemi.
State Department Terrorist Designations of Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi
The Department of State has designated Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a consequence of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Yusuf or Alawi, and all of Yusuf’s and Alawi’s property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction is frozen.
Today’s actions follow a recent increase in militant attacks in Bahrain, where Iran has provided weapons, funding, and training to militants. This marks yet another step in our continued effort to aggressively target Iran’s destabilizing and terrorism-related activities in the region. We will continue to stand with Bahrain in addressing these threats, even as we encourage the government to clearly differentiate its response to violent militia groups from its engagement with peaceful political opposition.
Alawi is affiliated with the Bahrain-based al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB). Yusuf is an Iran-based AAB senior member. AAB receives funding and support from the Government of Iran – a state sponsor of terrorism. AAB has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks – some of which have resulted in casualties – mainly against police and security targets in Bahrain. In March 2014, AAB conducted a bomb attack that killed two local police officers and an officer from the United Arab Emirates. AAB targets the security services of Gulf countries, such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations assist and complement law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments to counter terrorist groups and individuals.
Name: Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi
AKA: Murtadha Majeed Ramadan Al Sindi
AKA: Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan al-Sindi
AKA: Mortada Majid Al-Sanadi
DOB: March 27, 1983
Passport: 1986450 (Bahrain)
Name: Ahmad Hasan Yusuf
AKA: Sajjad Hassan Nasir Al Zubaydi
DOB: March 17, 1986
POB: Sitra, Bahrain
ALT DOB: January 7, 1986
ALT POB: Baghdad, Iraq
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
“The claim of Iran’s support for terrorism is a bogus, baseless and completely political allegation and even the accusers are fully aware of the futility and falsity of them.”
“It is not expected from the US, which claims to advocate democracy and human rights, to avoid standing by the hegemonic and human rights violating regimes.”
“Iran will firmly continue with its relentless fight [against terrorism].”
—March 18, 2017, to the press