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US Navy seizes dozens of Iranian weapons including surface-to-air missiles from sea

Iranian supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on August 15, 2019 [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 February, 2020

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A US warship has seized weapons thought to be of Iranian origin.
A US Navy warship has seized weapons believed to be of “Iranian design and manufacture,” including 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, the American military said on Thursday.

In a statement, the military said the guided-missile cruiser Normandy boarded a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, in the Arabian Sea on Sunday, Reuters reports.

“The weapons seized include 150 ‘Dehlavieh’ anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs,” the statement said.

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

The military said that the weapons seized on Sunday were “identical” to those seized by another US warship in November.

This isn’t the first instance of seizure of weapons in the Arabian Sea.

Last year the guided missile destroyer Forrest Sherman seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped at sea.

Read More: Yemen's oil-rich Shabwah province faces a dangerous power struggle

A United Nations resolution prohibits Tehran from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved by the Security Council.

A different UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders.

Under a United Nations resolution, Tehran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside the country unless approved by the Security Council.

A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders.

The Houthis have built their arsenal using local manufacturing, foreign expertise and parts smuggled in from Iran, their ally, and elsewhere.

The conflict in Yemen is seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are receiving parts for drones and weapons, some with technical characteristics similar to arms manufactured in Iran, in potential violation of a UN arms embargo, UN experts say.

The experts said in a report to the Security Council obtained on Friday by The Associated Press that the main smuggling route for both the commercially available drone parts and weapons “seems to run overland from Oman and the southern coast of Yemen, through territory controlled by the government of Yemen, towards Sanaa,” the country’s capital, which is controlled by the Houthis.

The panel said the high-profile seizure 25 November of a dhow in the Arabian Sea carrying anti-tank missiles indicates that sea transport also “continues to play a role” in potential violations of the arms embargo.

The Yemen conflict began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Houthis, who control much of the country's north. A Saudi-led military coalition allied with Yemen's internationally recognised government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.

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