Yemen: British navy seizes Iranian missiles, parts likely to go to Yemen – Times of India

DUBAI: The British Navy seized anti-tank missiles and fins for ballistic missile assemblies during an attack on a small boat en route from Iran to Yemen, authorities said Thursday, the last such seizure in the Gulf of Oman.
The Royal Navy seizure comes on the heels of other seizures by French and US forces in the region, as Western powers ramp up their pressure on Iran as it now enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels. It also comes as regional and international powers seek to end years of war in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, and as Iran arms Russia in its war against Ukraine.
The raid took place on Feb. 23 after a US aircraft detected a small boat coming from Iran, with a helicopter from the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster chasing the ship, the British Ministry of Defense said. The boat again attempted to enter Iranian territorial waters, but was stopped before it succeeded.
Inside the boat, British forces found Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, known in Iran as “Dehlavieh,” according to the Middle East-based U.S. Navy and British Navy 5th Fleet. Those weapons have been seen in other seizures suspected to be from Iran and headed for Yemen.
Also on board were small fins that the US Navy identified as jet vanes for medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian components have helped build a missile arsenal for Yemeni Houthi rebels, who have held the country’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014.
A United Nations resolution bans arms transfers to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Tehran has long denied arming the rebels, despite physical evidence, numerous seizures and experts linking the weapons back to Iran.
“This seizure of HMS Lancaster and the Royal Navy’s permanent presence in the Gulf region supports our commitment to upholding international law and tackling activities that threaten world peace and security,” said UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. .
vice-adm. Brad Cooperthe commander of the US 5th Fleet, said in a statement that this was the “seventh illegal arms or drug ban in the past three months and another example of Iran’s increasing malicious maritime activity across the region.”
Iranian state media did not immediately acknowledge the seizure. The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The war in Yemen has largely degenerated into a stalemate and has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. However, no Saudi-led airstrikes have been recorded in Yemen since the kingdom began a ceasefire in late March 2022, according to the Yemen Data Project.
That ceasefire expired in October, despite diplomatic efforts to extend it. That has led to fears that the war could escalate again. More than 150,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Yemen, including more than 14,500 civilians.

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