Iran

Expert Voices

Iran sees growing dividends from support for Yemen's Houthis

a crowd of protestors holding guns, flags and signs
Houthi loyalists marching in Sanaa, Yemen. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Iran's partnership with the Houthi rebels in Yemen — heralded this week by a hardline Iranian newspaper as "the battle of destiny in the south" — has become one of its most successful campaigns across the Middle East.

Why it matters: At surprisingly little cost to Tehran, the Houthis have waged a drawn-out war straining the coffers and reputation of Saudi Arabia, Iran's main regional rival. The conflict has also afforded Tehran a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula, allowing it to threaten maritime traffic on the Red Sea.

Expert Voices

Cryptocurrencies could help evade U.S. sanctions on Iran

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Iranian cryptocurrency developers have created a blockchain platform, IranRescueBit, to facilitate aid donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin — a move that threatens to undermine sanctions at the center of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign.

Why it matters: The platform's purported aim is to circumvent U.S. sanctions that prevented international donations from reaching the Iranian Red Crescent Society following damaging spring floods in Iran, but its scope appears likely to expand.