US Seizes Shipment of Iranian-made Weapons

Nellie Chapman
February 15, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday called for action against Iran after the US Navy said it had seized an Iranian weapons shipment bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen the day before.

In a statement, U.S. Central Command said the USS Normandy detained a small sailboat with 150 anti-tank missiles onboard.

They included 150 anti-tank guided missiles as well as three surface-to-air missiles.

"The U.S. Navy interdicted 358 Iranian-made missiles + other weapons components on their way to the Houthis in Yemen".

The weapons seized by the USS Normandy were reportedly components "of Iranian design and manufacture", including three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, thermal imaging weapon scopes and other munitions and advanced weapons parts. The head of the Revolutionary Guard stated, "If you make the slightest error, we will hit both of you".

"USS Normandy, while conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, boarded a dhow in accordance with worldwide law and discovered a large cache of weapons", read the statement.

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Iran has denied providing weapons to the Houthi rebels, who have taken credit for staging attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, since the conflict in Yemen broke out nearly five years ago.

CENTCOM also said numerous seized weapon systems were identical to advanced systems seized by the USS Forrest Sherman during an operation in the Arabian Sea in November.

The seized weapons are in US custody awaiting final placement.

Tehran is prohibited by a UN resolution from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside Iran unless approved by the United Nations Security Council; a separate resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who are fighting the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

Officials told VOA they could find no evidence linking the crew of the intercepted ship to militant groups.

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