For the second time in three months, the United States interdicted a boat off Yemen’s coast carrying Iranian-made weapons destined for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Shipping arms to Yemen is a violation of a United Nations arms embargo.
The latest arms cache was seized February 9, after a team from the USS Normandy, conducting routine maritime security operations, boarded a sailing ship in accordance with international law.
As U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook explained in a briefing, the cache included 150 Dehlavieh Iranian-made anti-tank missiles as well as three Iranian-designed and manufactured surface-to-air missiles:
“There were also Iranian-made thermal optical sights and components for the Houthis to assemble numerous waterborne improvised explosive devices. These weapons pose a very real threat to commercial navigation and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.”
In November, Mr. Hook noted, the U.S. Navy seized a large cache of advanced Iranian weapons and Iranian components intended for the Houthis in Yemen, including the same types of anti-tank missiles and surface-to-air missiles that were interdicted in February.
Navy Captain William Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told reporters recently that “extensive inspection of the weapons and weapon components determined that these weapons are of Iranian manufacture and are consistent with known Iranian weapons:”
“The Houthis have used these Iranian-designed systems to conduct lethal attacks against civil, commercial, and military targets on the Arabian Peninsula."
Special Representative Hook said the seizure by the United States of weapons caches headed for Yemen, exposes “Iran’s duplicity:”
“While the regime claims that it supports a diplomatic solution to the conflict, its actions prove otherwise. Guided missiles and improvised explosive devices are not the tools of diplomacy; they are the weapons of war, and they are what Iran brings to the table.”
“The United States will continue to stand with our partners in the region to counter Iran’s malign activity,” said Special Representative Hook. “The international community should apply more pressure on Iran until it stops providing arms, training, and funding to proxy groups in the gray zone.” Failing to do so, he added, “will undermine peace in the region. It will embolden Iran, allow it to grow its arsenal even further, and deepen its role in ongoing conflicts.”