UN experts say weapons seized in the Arabian Sea confirm Tehran is exporting weapons to Yemen, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The United Nations has discovered that thousands of weapons recently seized in the Arabian Sea likely came from a single port in Iran, proof that Tehran exports weapons to Yemen and elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Yemen has been in the throes of war since 2014, pitting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels against the internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led military force.
Citing a confidential report by a UN Security Council panel of experts on Yemen, the Journal wrote on Saturday that boats and land transport were being used to smuggle Russian-made weapons into China. and in Iran in Yemen.
Weapons included rocket launchers, machine guns and sniper rifles, which had been seized by the US Navy in recent months.
“Weapons mix indicates common pattern of supply, likely from government stocks, involving dhows [boats] in the Arabian Sea, which transport weapons to Yemen and Somalia, âthe report said.
The UN imposed an arms embargo on the Houthis in 2015.
The United States as well as its ally Saudi Arabia – which leads the military coalition supporting the Yemeni government – has long accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms, a charge denied by Tehran.
Iranian authorities did not immediately respond to the report. A Houthi official in Yemen denied, calling the allegations of Iranian arms smuggling a “delusion”.
âSeaports and airports are closed, so how can these suspected weapons get to us? Nasr al-Din Amir, the deputy head of the Houthi Information Ministry, was quoted by the Journal.
Boats used to transport the weapons left from the Iranian port of Jask in southeastern Iran, the UN report revealed, based on interviews with the boat’s crew and data from navigation instruments on board.
In recent months, fighting in Yemen has seen Saudi-led coalition forces carry out airstrikes on the rebel-held capital Sana’a.
Riyadh said its 2015 intervention in Yemen was aimed at preventing an Iranian ally from seizing power at its doorstep.
The UN estimates that the war in Yemen directly or indirectly killed 377,000 people. More than 80 percent of the population of around 30 million is in need of humanitarian assistance.