U.S. Navy Seizes Suspected Iranian Weapons Cache In Arabian Sea

USS Normandy seizes illegal weapons in Arabian Sea

A US Navy warship has seized 150 anti-tank missiles believed to be of Iranian "design and manufacture" as well as three surface-to-air missiles, the US military said Thursday in a statement.

The USS Normandy, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, intercepted a small sailing vessel in the Arabian Sea over the weekend and found it loaded with Iranian weapons bound for the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"Weapons seized include 150 "Dehlavieh" anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs", the statement said.

Other weapons allegedly included Iranian-made surface-to-air missiles, thermal imaging scopes, ammunition as well as "Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels".

Sending such weapons to Yemen "would be in violation of a U.N. Security Council Resolution that prohibits the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis", the CENTCOM statement said.

The statement noted that numerous munitions seized over the weekend 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.

"USS Normandy, while conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, boarded a dhow in accordance with global law and discovered a large cache of weapons", read the statement.

"Everything points to these weapons being made in Iran", CENTCOM spokesman Commander Zachary Harrell told VOA.

The seized weapons are in USA custody awaiting final placement.

Iran has denied providing weapons to the Houthi rebels, who have taken credit for staging attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, since the conflict in Yemen broke out nearly five years ago.

Officials said there was no evidence to link any of the crew members to any militant groups.

They are now being examined by global weapons inspectors.

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