U.S. Announces Seizure Of Iranian Weapons It Says Were En Route To Yemen
The United States says it has seized a variety of missiles that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force shipped to Yemen and announced the sale of Iranian oil it seized in August before it reached Venezuela, saying the proceeds will benefit victims of terrorism.
The U.S. Justice Department announced the actions on October 29, saying the missiles were seized after two U.S. warships interdicted two “flagless vessels” in separate routine security operations in November 2019 and February 2020 in the Arabian Sea.
“Aboard both of the vessels were large stocks of weapons, including 171 guided anti-tank missiles, eight surface-to-air missiles, and various other missile components,” the department said in a news release.
“Subsequent investigation revealed the ships’ cargo to be of Iranian manufacture and consistent with known Iranian weapon systems.”
It said additional analysis revealed that the arms were from the IRCG’s Quds Force and destined for militant groups in Yemen. The United States has long accused Iran of illegally smuggling arms to Huthi rebels battling the Yemeni government. The U.S. attorney general has filed a complaint seeking forfeiture of the arms, the department said. The Justice Department also announced on October 29 that it had sold 1.1 million barrels of previously seized Iranian oil that was bound for Venezuela. It said proceeds from the sale would go to a special fund for victims of state-sponsored terrorism. The money “will now go to a far better use than either regime, Iran, or Venezuela, could have envisioned because it will provide relief for victims of terrorism rather than the perpetrators of such acts,” said Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s special representative for Iran and Venezuela.
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