On December 20, the United States Navy 5th Fleet seized upwards of 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a vessel originating from Iran. This ship was on a route historically used to illegally smuggle weapons to the Houthis in Yemen. The smuggling of arms from Iran to the Houthis represents a flagrant violation of the UN targeted arms embargo and is yet another example of how malign Iranian activity is prolonging the war in Yemen. Iran’s support for armed groups throughout the region threatens international and regional security, our forces, our diplomatic personnel and citizens in the region, as well as our partners in the region and elsewhere.
This Administration is committed to countering this threat from Iran. The U.S. seized dozens of anti-tank guided missiles, thousands of assault rifles, and hundreds of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers from similar vessels in both May and February of this year.
The illegal flow of weapons to Yemen is enabling the brutal Houthi offensive against Marib, increasing the suffering of civilians. Further fighting – whether in Marib or elsewhere – will only bring more suffering. The Yemeni parties must reach a political settlement together to end the war.
For further information on the seizure, we refer you to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s press release: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/411792/us-navy-seizes-1400-assault-rifles-during-illicit-weapons-interdiction