The British Navy has seized anti-tank missiles and ballistic missile components in a raid on a small boat heading from Iran towards Yemen, in the latest such bust of illegal arms transfers to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
According to the British Defence Ministry, the raid by the Royal Navy took place on 23 February, after an American aircraft detected a small boat sailing around the waters of the Gulf of Oman from Iran. As the HMS Lancaster gave chase to the boat, it attempted to return to Iranian waters, but was caught before it could do so.
BZ. That's some serious firepower which will never reach its destination. 👏@HMSLANCASTER, @815NAS and @42_commando pounced on a skiff in the Gulf of Oman after a high-speed chase, seizing an illegal haul of anti-tank weapons/ballistic missile parts.https://t.co/KVGUA3Ofvj pic.twitter.com/8rjr9dBAYQ
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) March 2, 2023
Royal Navy personnel then found Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles – known in Iran as ‘Dehlavieh’ – on the vessel, as well as small fins that the United States’ Navy identified as jet vanes for medium-range ballistic missiles.
In a statement by the UK’s Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, he stressed that “This seizure by HMS Lancaster and the permanent presence of the Royal Navy in the Gulf region supports our commitment to uphold international law and tackle activity that threatens peace and security around the world”.
Vice-Admiral, Brad Cooper, the Commander of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, also stated that this was the “seventh illegal weapon or drug interdiction in the last three months and yet another example of Iran’s increasing malign maritime activity across the region”, referring to other recent raids this year by the American and French navies which intercepted arms smuggling operations from Iran to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.