UPDATE: Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook held a press briefing on the incident. He demonstrated photos of the captured weapons: a thing that looks likea nose of some missile and Dehlaviyeh anti-tank guided missiles (an Iranian copy of Russia’s Kornet).
The U.S. Navy had seized a “significant cache” of suspected Iranian missile parts that was heading to the Houthis in Yemen, the Associated Press (AP) reported on December 5.
An unnamed U.S. official told AP that the shipment was seized last week. USS Forrest Sherman was conducting routine maritime operations when sailors noticed a small wooden boat that was not displaying a country flag. The Navy and Coast Guard personnel stopped, boarded the boat for inspection and found the weapons.
The official said that the seized weapons are now being examined by U.S. experts to pinpoint their origins. However, he noted that the missile parts are similar to previous Iranian weapons that have been found in Yemen or Saudi Arabia.
“The incident illustrates the continuing illegal smuggling of weapons to Houthi rebels and comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were meeting, with Iran as the main topic,” AP quoted the official as saying.
Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that a U.S. warship had intercepted a cache of weapons and advanced missile components, saying that they are of “Iranian origin.”
Most of the Houthis’ advanced weapons are Iranian-made or of Iranian origins. In the last two years, the Yemeni group revealed several types of attack drones, ballistic missiles, precision-guided rockets, anti-aircraft missiles and even a cruise missile.
The U.S. Navy intercepted several Iranian weapons shipments heading to Yemen before in what can be described as direct support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Earlier in 2019, President Donald Trump refused to end this support despite apparent Saudi war crimes in Yemen.