The U.S. Navy seized more than 2,000 assault rifles after halting a suspected smuggling vessel on its way from Iran to Yemen, the Navy announced Tuesday. This is at least the third time in recent months that the Navy has stopped the international smuggling of weapons.
The U.S. Navy issued the following statement.
“A boarding crew from Navy patrol coastal ship USS Chinook intercepted the vessel carrying 2,116 AK-47 rifles on Jan. 6 along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen. ‘This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT and the 5th Fleet said. The Navy detained six Yemeni citizens, whose repatriations are in progress. The patrol coastal ship USS Monsoon and the destroyer USS The Sullivans supported the interdiction.”
Seizing Ammunition in Recent Months
Over 170 tons of explosive chemicals were seized on a fishing vessel last November. In December, 50 tons of ammunition rounds, fuses and rocket propellants were seized on a different vessel. Tuesday’s interception and seizure of ammunition led to the U.S. confiscating 2,116 assault rifles.
The New Cold War
Stars and Stripes reports the following:
Analysts say Iran and the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East are locked in a cold war of armed proxy groups, covert attacks and influence peddling. The U.S. has levied numerous sanctions on Iran in recent months, accusing Tehran of carrying out a brutal national crackdown on protests. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan accused Iran on Monday of “contributing to widespread war crimes” in Ukraine due to Tehran’s sales of combat drones to Russia, The Associated Press reported.
‘You Have Our Attention’
“This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “These threats have our attention. We remain vigilant in detecting any maritime activity that impedes freedom of navigation or compromises regional security.” International law and the U.N. Security Council ban the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen.