WASHINGTON — The State Department on Friday said it would lift a terrorist designation against Houthi rebels in Yemen that the Trump administration had issued in its final days, revoking penalties that aides to President Biden worried would bring more pain to millions of starving people than to the rebels.
Three officials familiar with the decision said the Biden administration had notified Democrats in Congress on Friday evening that it would scrap the designation, which served as President Donald J. Trump’s final jab at the Houthis’ main patron, Iran.
Caught in widespread poverty and civil war, about 80 percent of Yemen’s population of 30 million people live in areas under Houthi control. The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said in November that Yemen was “in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen for decades.”
Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, said in a statement that removing the terrorist designation would “save lives.”
kidnapping of Americans. But, the official said, keeping the rebels on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations would accelerate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The terrorist designation was in place for just under a month. It was never clear that it would inhibit the rebels who overthrew the Saudi-backed government in Yemen in 2014 and, some analysts said, pose
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