US Navy nabs Iranian missile shipment to Houthis in Arabian Sea

US military says 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three surface-to-air weapons found on small vessel headed to Yemen

The United States military said Thursday it had seized an Iranian weapons shipment on a small sailing vessel in the Arabian Sea that was bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

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.

The US Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) underway in the Atlantic Ocean on February 16, 2018 as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) while conducting its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). (Wikipedia/US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford/public domain)

“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.

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.

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