US Justice Department looks to keep Iranian weapons seized en route to Yemen

Previous media reports have suggested the US is looking to send the weapons to Ukraine.

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The US Justice Department on Friday filed a forfeiture complaint to take possession of more than one million rounds of ammunition and thousands of other weapons that were seized in transit from Iran to Yemen’s Houthis.

“The United States disrupted a major operation by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to smuggle weapons of war into the hands of a militant group in Yemen. The Justice Department is now seeking the forfeiture of those weapons, including over one million rounds of ammunition and thousands of proximity fuses for rocket-propelled grenades,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

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He said the Justice Department would be relentless in holding accountable those who “break our laws and threaten our national security.”

Previous media reports have suggested the US is looking to send the weapons to Ukraine.

In January, US and French forces intercepted a vessel with thousands of assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, and 500,000 rounds of ammunition.

US forces have stepped up their efforts to monitor the waters in the region alongside its Gulf and Arab allies.

In December and January, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said they carried out four “significant illicit cargo interdictions,” preventing over 5,000 weapons and 1.6 million rounds of ammunition from reaching Yemen.

According to court documents, CENTCOM forces seized the weapons from a flagless vessel in the Arabian Sea in December. The Justice Department said the seizure included 1.063 million rounds of 7.62mmx54mm ammunition; 24,000 rounds of 12.7mmx99mm ammunition; 6,960 proximity fuses for rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and 2,000 kg of propellant for rocket-propelled grenades.

Read more: Saudi-Iran deal could have ‘calming’ effect on Lebanon, region: Senior US diplomat

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