On Feb. 9 a U.S. Navy warship boarded a small ship in the Arabian Sea and seized advanced weaponry including Iranian manufactured ani-tank guided missiles, U.S. military officials announced Thursday.
The illegal weapons were seized by the crew of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser Normandy, a press release detailed.
Weapons and sensitive tech captured during the ship boarding included 150 Dehlavieh anti-tank guided missiles, three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, Iranian thermal scopes, and Iranian parts for unmanned systems, among other advanced parts and munitions, the release said.
The weapons systems are in U.S. custody, the release said. U.S. Central Command said the small boat was boarded in accordance with international law while the Normandy was conducting maritime security operations.
Officials with U.S. Central Command did not say where the weapon systems were bound. But the weapon systems and parts interdicted by the crew of the Normandy are strikingly similar to weapons seized by the guided-missile destroyer Sherman in Nov. 2019, according to the release.
The weapons seized by the Sherman were bound for Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, a release detailed. At that time, U.S. officials described the weapons seizure as the most advanced components bound for the Yemen conflict to date.
The U.S. has often accused Iran of supplying advanced anti-ship, drone and missile technology to Houthi rebels who are amid a civil war in Yemen against the central government.
The Houthis have used drone and missile technology to launch attacks against installations in Saudi Arabia. In mid-Sept. 2019, Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an attack that crippled two major Saudi oil installations.
The U.S. claims Iran orchestrated the attack on the Saudi facilities by launching cruise missiles from within Iranian territory.
Following the attack, the U.S. announced it was deploying thousands more troops and Patriot missile defense batteries to the Middle East to confron Iranian malign behavior.
“The assessment of the materiel will be an interagency and international effort. International partner nations and organizations have also been invited to inspect the cache,” CENTCOM said in a release.