Pompeo calls for action against Iran after US Navy seizes weapons sent to Yemen

US secretary of state says ‘world must reject Iran’s violence,’ urges renewal of arms embargo against Tehran

Illegal weapons seized by the US Navy in the Arabian Sea, Feb. 9, 2020. (US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman)
Illegal weapons seized by the US Navy in the Arabian Sea, Feb. 9, 2020. (US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman)

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.

“The U.S. Navy interdicted 358 Iranian-made missiles + other weapons components on their way to the Houthis in Yemen. This is another example of the world’s largest state sponsor of terror the Islamic Republic of Iran continuing to defy the UN Security Council,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

“The world must reject Iran’s violence and act now to renew the expiring @UN arms embargo on #Iran,” Pompeo said.

The US military said it had seized the weapons shipment on a small sailing vessel in the Arabian sea.

The weapons showed signs of Iranian “design and manufacture,” according to a Reuters report.

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

According to the US Navy, sailors from the USS Normandy, a missile cruiser, boarded a dhow bound for Yemen in the Arabian Sea and discovered “150 ‘Dehlavieh’ anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs.

“Other weapons components seized aboard the dhow were of Iranian design and manufacture and included three Iranian surface-to-air missiles,” the statement said.

The weapons were “identical” to those seized in a similar operation last November by the USS Forrest Sherman.

Video published by the US military showed troops approaching the vessel in a small boat and boarding with guns drawn.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have maintained close ties to Iran, which has provided them with weapons, training and financial support.

The US has consistently accused Iran of illegally smuggling arms to the Houthis, and has seized numerous weapons shipments in transit in recent months.

Iranian weapons smuggling into Yemen violates two UN Security Council resolutions, one that prohibits Iran from shipping weapons outside its border, and another that prohibits supplying weapons to the Houthis amid Yemen’s prolonged and bloody civil war.

Pompeo on Wednesday discussed Yemen and Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Washington.

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