“The last port the ship was docked at was an Iranian port,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al Arabiya.
On Sunday, the US Navy said it captured a ship in the Arabian Sea that was filled with thousands of various types of Chinese and Russian-made weapons.
Although the ship did not have a flag on board to identify who it belonged to, US officials have reason to believe that it “probably heading to the Houthis.”
The Iran-backed militia has been engaged in a yearslong war against the UN-recognized Yemeni government. The Houthis also continue to target civilians and infrastructure in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
“The US has doubled down on its efforts to prevent weapons smuggling to the Houthis,” the official said.
Iran denies giving weapons to the Houthis, despite evidence to the contrary. A UN arms embargo is also meant to prevent smuggling and arms shipments to the Houthis; however, the UN has little to no supervision over Yemen’s ports.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Monday that US forces fired warning shots at Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy. This was the second incident in less than a month where Iranian boats harass US warships in international waters.
The USS Monterey, the ship which intercepted the arms shipment, was one of the ships Iranian boats rushed towards on Monday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.
Thousands of illicit weapons interdicted by guided-missile cruiser @USSMonterey (CG 61) from a stateless dhow in international waters of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7.— U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) May 8, 2021
Cache of weapons included advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles & Chinese Type 56 assault rifles. pic.twitter.com/07Fv92vbrV
“This activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests,” he said.
Officials from the Biden administration are currently engaging in indirect talks with Iran in a bid to revive the now-defunct nuclear deal that was signed under former President Barack Obama in 2015.
But the talks have not stopped Iran and its proxies in the region from continuing attacks against US forces in Iraq and US allies in the Gulf.