A United States Navy warship have seized advanced weapons and weapon components believed to be of Iranian “design and manufacture”, including 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles.
The weapons cache, including more than 150 Dehlavieh anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, were seized in the Arabian Sea aboard a stateless dhow sailing vessel during a maritime interdiction operation on February 9.
In a statement by the United States military, military said the guided-missile cruiser Normandy boarded a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, in the Arabian Sea on Sunday.
“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.
Iran did not immediately comment on the US military’s statement.
The military said that the weapons seized on Sunday by the USS Normandy guided-missile cruiser were similar to weapons and components seized in November by the crew of the USS Forrest Sherman guided-missile destroyer.
The weapons seized in November were determined to be destined for Huthis, according to the U.S. military. The Iran-backed Huthis have been fighting Saudi Arabia’s forces in Yemen for five years.
The rebels have used drones and surface vessels to attack Saudi forces in the past, using equipment that U.S. military experts say comes from Iran.
The shipment of weapons seized over the weekend would violate a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting the “direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Huthis.”
In recent years, US warships have intercepted and seized Iranian arms likely bound for Houthi fighters in Yemen.
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.