The Pentagon announced that Iran continues sending sophisticated weapons to the Houthis in Yemen, in violation of its international obligations, supporting these accusations with pictures of Iranian weapons that were allegedly transferred in two shipments seized by US forces in less than three months.
Commander Bill Urban, spokesperson for the US Central Command in the Middle East (Centcom), stated in a press conference, held at the headquarters of the Department of Defence in Washington, that the Quds Force, the elite force responsible for carrying out foreign operations in the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), “has consistently proven that it is trying to send weapons to the Houthis in Yemen.
Urban presented during the press conference pictures of weapons seized by the US forces on 25 November and 9 February, on board of two sailing boats that were sailing without raising the national flag of any country, stressing that these weapons were sent from Iran to the Houthis.
He explained that the second interception operation that took place on 9 February was carried out by the US cruiser USS Normandy in the Arabian Sea, during which 150 anti-tank missiles “Dahlawi”, an Iranian version of the Russian Cornet missile, and three 358 surface-to-air missiles, a weapon that Iran recently made, were seized.
As for the first interception operation in November, the US destroyer USS Forrest Sherman seized missiles of the same type, as well as a large number of cruise missiles components.
Urban stressed that “the United States is convinced that the seized weapons (…) were manufactured in Iran and were on the way to be smuggled to the Houthis in Yemen, in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions.”
He refused to answer questions related to the way the US Navy monitored these two sailboats, especially as large numbers of these small boats constantly roam the waters of the region, or in the location where they were loaded with weapons.
Urban only stated that the crew of the boat, which was seized on 9 February, was composed of Yemeni nationals, who were handed over to the Yemeni coast guard.
Tehran has consistently denied US accusations about providing military support to the Houthis fighting the government recognised by the UN-backed by the Saudi-led military coalition.